Two Ways to Grow

God expects us to grow: to become more like Jesus, to increase in faith, to develop the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and the Christian graces (2 Peter l:5-11), etc.

How can this be accomplished? The New Testament mentions at least two factors that are essential to spiritual growth.

One is Bible study. “…like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…” (l Peter 2:2). “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof for correction, for training in righteousness…” (2 Tim.3:16).

Another growth factor is suffering. Repeatedly the New Testament speaks of the spiritual growh that results from trials (Rom. 5:3-5; Heb. 12:3-13; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7). Knowing that God can use suffering for our good helps us to keep from despairing.

We are supposed to grow, and we are supposed to suffer. And the two are vitally connected. These two growth stimulators–Bible study and suffering–can work hand-in-hand. God’s word gives us the insights we need to deal with suffering. And when we suffer we are more likely to turn to the Scriptures for comfort.

While we can and should seek God’s word daily, we don’t seek suffering. It comes looking for us, and it will find us. May God help us to learn from it and grow stronger. Suffering hurts too much for its priceless lessons to be wasted.

David Gibson
via Commerce (TX) church of Christ

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