discipleship, eternal things, sin, spiritual growth, transformation by truth, trusting God

Growth

Growth is never easy…Comfort is easy, unawareness is easy. Spiritually, living is hard and dying is easy. I was talking to a friend yesterday about a book we are reading together. It is a book that deals with the heart–the reality of who God is and the reality of who we are. She remarked to me that it is hard to grapple with all of the things it brings up in her heart. I told her it causes us to look truth in the face and make a paradigm shift.
Most of the time our lives are so busy and full with distractions like eating, drinking, entertainment, work, responsibilities, dreams of being out of our responsibilities 🙂 that we miss the real heart work. We can go through life completely ignoring the hard questions and not even knowing what is really going on inside ourselves and in relationship to God and others. We live as shells of who we are to be. Even as Christians, we may live in self-righteousness thinking we have got it together instead of seeing and fighting the sin that so easily entangles us.
It is hard work to grow and depend on Christ. Hard work in that it involves self-examination in the light of Christ, his word and his work on the cross for us daily. Our hearts are deceitful above all, so we tend to ignore the realities of them in order to numb ourselves. We think we cannot deal with all the work that needs to be done forgetting that the reality of the power of the cross is as true today as it was at conversion. There is freedom in being in his truth daily…in knowing that apart from Him, we can do nothing. We are reminded that He will bring about fruit in our lives, growth, when we remain in Him daily. (John 15:1-5)
Most of the books I recommend deal with His hard truths in the light of our hard hearts. Truth matters in practice and that practice comes from the anchor of who we are–our hearts. I challenge each of us to take a good long look in the mirror and hold His truth up to our hearts. It may be scary at first…and it is easier to run at first. But, the fruit and the freedom and the joy of knowing our Eternal Father and seeing Him as He is is infinitely better than the piddly things that we tend to treasure on this earth (Yes, better than material things and husbands, wives, children, dogs, status, ministry etc). He does not leave us to do the work alone. In fact, He tells us we cannot do it alone. It is by the power of Christ’s work on the cross that we have the privilege of knowing God in the first place, and He promises to complete the work in us. The Spirit is walking with us every step of the way giving grace and discipline…not condemnation (Romans 8:1).
So, read a hard book, listen to a hard sermon (by that I mean something that is not just comforting but challenging to your heart and life), have a real conversation with a friend, examine your heart. Truly living is hard and dying is easy. But, I would rather be truly living than trying to numb myself to forget the life we are called to.
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