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But this isn’t how God works

Growth
Irene Davila Unsplash.com

Getting stronger doesn’t happen overnight. Neither does shaving a few seconds off your 40-yard dash time.

It usually happens in the small, subtle happenings day in and day out, over and over again. We can go weeks without physically seeing results until one day, a month or two down the road, we recognize new muscle development and check the clock to see a few milliseconds less at the finish line.

We wait. We put in the work. Then, at some point, we see results.

Growth takes time.

Growth happens in our spiritual workouts, too. When we want to strengthen our faith, we hope for easy training where we can see fast results and avoid anything that’s hard. But this isn’t how God works. Only He has the end result in sight, and only He has the best action plan and route to get us there. Sometimes, it’s a lot of work. Sometimes, there is struggle. And sometimes, it takes a whole lot longer than we’d like. But there are results, and we are stronger on the other side.

Growth takes time. But it is good.

You are growing. God is always shaping and maneuvering His children into the likeness of His Son, always focused on the end result.

2 Peter 3:18 says, “Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Get ready for a slow but steady and rich process that will draw you deeper into the heart of God and His strength in you.

You are growing in:

Humility

If our example for living is Jesus, one of our growth points is humility. The world tells us to be louder, more prominent, and confident to the extreme of bragging. God’s Kingdom says otherwise. Yes, we have confidence that cannot be shaken because of our identity as God’s child, but we have deeper confidence that calls forth a gentle and loving heart poised to serve those around us, not demand that others serve us. Humility is a heavenly trait. Jesus took on humility by leaving Heaven and being born as a human baby. His life was full of humble acts of service and upside-down teaching, and our hearts can be turned toward His example.

Phillippians 2:5-8 says 

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

Strength

True strength stems from submission. When we stay connected to God in daily prayer, Bible reading, and inviting Him into our day, His Spirit moves in us to give us all we need in each moment. It’s not by our own efforts that we gain strength. It’s from relying on God’s power to show up and equip us for endurance to get through hard situations or find the right words in a difficult conversation. Trying to make things happen on our own can actually take away our energy. When you drop the effort and fall into God’s strength, He will enable you with what you need.

Ephesians 6:10 tells us “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” 

Wisdom

God gives us wisdom. All we need to do is ask. The more we lean into God’s Word to know and experience His heart and character, the deeper we grow in the spiritual world that inhabits the physical world we live in. With biblical understanding comes wisdom, which allows us to assess situations with a spiritual lens. How do we navigate difficult relationships? Go to God and ask Him how to handle it. We can season our words with grace and truth, which draws others into the greater story God is inviting them into. Keep seeking the wisdom God gives freely.

Proverbs 2:6 says “For the Lord grants wisdom!  From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Inch by inch, day by day, we make progress. We learn. We lean into God’s knowledge, patience, and guidance. We rejoice in the growth, no matter how small or subtle, because we see God at work, and we recognize our hearts and minds expanding in Him.

Remember: God loves growing us into the image of His Son. He sees who we can become, and He longs to get us there.

Growth looks good on you. God’s heart is on display.

Sarah Freymuth is the Communications Manager for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and writes content for blogs, articles, Bible reading plans and devotionals that share God's heart with coaches and athletes. She played softball for Concordia University Wisconsin, is in their Hall of Fame, and has led FCA Huddles since high school.

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