Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Growth is a natural process for all living things. We grow physically in size and as Christians we grow spiritually as well. However, there is another type of growth which in my experience gets excessively overlooked – the growth of our character.
We as individual people need to grow too. We were all made a certain way; unfortunately, the initial perfect idea God had when creating each of us was bruised, reshaped, and broken throughout our lives. We became more prone to judgment, pride, insecurities, fear, greed, the list goes on and on.
Most of the time, these characteristics come undercover and even if we notice them, it’s extremely hard to change. Because growth is one of my biggest passions I would love to talk to you about how we can make this process of growth easier and faster. Believe me when I say that growth doesn’t have to be the daunting struggle of self-denial and constant failure; it can be an eye opening journey of discovering who God is and who we are in our essence. Yes, it will always be hard but I believe it is something that frees us rather than gives us rules we have to obey.
In order to grow, we need to know what the problem is – this is particularly hard to know as the enemy always tries to sugarcoat his doing. In the process of identifying the problem, I like to ask myself a few questions: what happened? How did you react or feel in that situation? Where does this feeling or reaction come from? Simply put, observe what the situation was, how you reacted or felt and why.
Let’s say you have trouble making a decision about what school to go to or what job to apply for, maybe about your relationship. This is the answer to the “what happened?” question, it states the situation. How did you react or feel in that situation? Let’s say you struggle to decide because you are afraid of making the wrong choice. That may seem like the answer to your questions, but there is often a root of the thing hiding deeper under the surface. So ask the third question: where does this feeling or reaction come from? In this situation it might be that maybe you made a bad decision in the past which had awful consequences, or maybe you were always pressured to do the right thing and never fail.
Now you’ve gotten to the root of the struggle in this example. Once you have hold of the root don’t let go until it has been fully uprooted. There is no point in plucking the leaves with the hope the plant will stop growing. If you want the problem to stop growing, like a plant, you have to take it out by its roots. This is crucial! It takes a lot of intentionality and strength. However, this is the part when it becomes beautiful as well. We have the root and we get to dig it out with the truth – the truth that sets us free.
So very often the root is an unbelief about God or ourselves: I am not good enough, I have to handle this all by myself, I can’t fail, God doesn’t care, God doesn’t have the power, I am meant to go through this, I will never be loved, I will never learn, God is not good, I am not free and so on.
Do you know the best way to fight lies? By proclaiming the truth. Do you know how we know what the truth is? We look into His word. By reading the Bible, you will know the truth in your head. By proclaiming it, it will come to your heart. And when that truth is believed deep in the depths of your heart, the transformation will come so naturally. In terms of our decision making example, it would be really hard to push yourself into making the decision and ignore the fear which will inevitably appear with the next decision anyway. Recognize the lies and choose the truth that you don’t have to be perfect. Knowing that God does take care even if we make a bad choice or maybe that there is not always right or wrong, will liberate you not only for this decision but for many others in the future.
It takes courage and humility to give our feelings and beliefs to God because we feel like maybe we know better than God, we think we know what is right without God’s input, but handing it over to him is absolutely worth it. Once you put your problems in God’s hands, you may find out that you were right, but we can’t be afraid of being wrong; if we hold back out of fear we will never grow and get better.
Growth is hard and it costs a lot; you will have to give up pride, control, and false security, but you’ll gain a better picture of God, a closer relationship with Him, and a whole lot of better character which He can use for His kingdom and you as a testimony of the One who saved you.