TOOLS FOR GROWTH AS WARRIORS FOR CHRIST
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on. however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen you feeble arms and weak knees (Hebrews 12:11-12)
One of the greatest struggles in life occurs when we mature through our teenage years. We are both children and adults at the same time. At other times we are neither juvenile nor mature. We are in a state of transition. Our maturity in faith also has the difficult teenage years.
When we first start following Jesus everything is wonderful. We are innocent, excited, and positively in love with our Savior. Each time God asks us to do something, we are more than willing to please Him. We can’t wait to worship Him each day.
Unfortunately, there is a long developmental stage between new believer and mature disciple. During this season, we are smart enough to be very dangerous with the things of faith. We easily discover the mistakes of others. Often, we are quick to spot when our leaders fall short in ministry. In this transition, there are seasons of being judgmental proud, fearless, fearful, opinionated, and downright ornery! God is more than patient as we grow through this stage.
God takes the teenage warrior into His crucibles of discipleship where all of these imperfections are addressed. During these days, sometimes we wonder what happened to the sweet Lord that we first fell in love with. In order to complete the discipleship process, we must endure through some very uncomfortable situations. Some of us wonder – and honestly so – if there will be anything in our lives that is not destroyed in God’s kiln. The process is called sanctification, which means being made holy. Just as no one likes to drink from a filthy cup, we are not ready for the Master’s perfect plans until we have been purified.
So, never walk away from a crucible. We cannot walk back into it when we think that we are ready. In all cases, the Master has a plan for our perfect release. If we leave before the work is completed, we must go through the entire process again.
Next, remember that God loves us and knows what He is doing. Trust in His perfect mercy, grace, and timing through each difficulty. God is just like a skilled dentist who is removing decay from our teeth. We need that which may be harmful to our lives removed for us to be healthy spiritually.
Finally, press on. Many fall apart just a few feet from the finish line. When God is finished, there is a harvest of peace and righteousness. I know that often it hurts, but with faith, we are never without hope. Just a there are no shortcuts to athletic conditioning; God’s discipleship program may be exhausting yet prepares us for what is ahead.
Father, I recognize that You have always loved me. I know that You want what is best for my life. Therefore, I willingly place my life into Your capable hands. Lead me where You want me to go, help me overcome my weaknesses, and let Your Spirit mentor my development. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen!