Introduction. We have all seen a toddler crawling around a room, eagerly eying furniture that can be used for leverage when the time comes for “pulling-up.” We have also seen, that toddler reach the pull-up stage and move to walking “with no holds.” We rightly praise and encourage such behavior. We know that growth is only achieved by going beyond present circumstances. What we sometimes forget is, that we (adults) need to grow also. That growth, though it may be imperceptible to the eye, is still real growth. Let us consider some things we need to move beyond in order for us to grow spiritually.

Beyond Our Own Expectations. Our achievements will only be as high as our highest goals. If we aspire to be pew-warmers only, that is all we will be. Our minds will not be engaged in the private study of the word of God and our faith will not be challenged by the word’s clash with the world in our daily life. We dare not be content with “just being religious.” Here is a challenge for us: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1). That ought to raise our goal.

Beyond Our Hurts, Losses, and Failures. There is no doubt about it, in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33), or trouble. Persecution is to be expected (2 Timothy 3:12). Further, physical accidents and health failures occur regularly, as does death. Christians are not immune to any of these things. Therefore, when these occur in our lives, we must deal with them in a realistic, optimistic manner. This in no way minimizes the importance of our own health or the personhood of those we love. However, if we cannot accept the loss of something or someone that/who is truly gone from this life, we will suffer serious mental and spiritual consequences.

Beyond the Expectations of Others. We all have certain limitations. They may be in our physical makeup or circumstances. However we can move beyond some of those limitations. For example, we may hold a job that pays minimum wages. However, that does not mean that we, or the job, are insignificant. We can work enthusiastically at any job we may hold (Ecclesiastes 9:10). We can do the best we can with what God has given, and be satisfied in the realization that we have done so.

Conclusion. Growth, by its nature means moving beyond the present circumstance to even better circumstances. If we approach it in that manner, even the most disheartening of circumstances can be faced with courage and optimism. Let us go beyond…and grow.

Lance Cordle
Calvert City church of Christ
Calvert City, KY

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