Daily Devotional

Spiritual Growth is a Lifelong Process

The Apostle Paul was a man of great spiritual stature, but not without faults.  He wanted his readers to know that he had not attained to full maturity in Christ.  Paul saw himself as the worst of sinners when he wrote, “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NLT) God’s grace had worked in Paul’s life and he had made a lot of spiritual progress.  Yet he knew there was room for more.   Who he was now was all about God’s grace in his life.  “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.”  (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 NIV) Paul recognized that there were issues through the years that had held him back.   He had to deal with them to fully experience Christ in his life.  He was actively reaching toward the goal of a full experiential relationship with his Lord.  (Philippians 3:10) God was working in Paul to remove those areas of brokenness that would keep him from that deepening relationship.

Paul had experienced and gone through many spiritual battles as he came to understand the areas of brokenness in his life.  He very openly expresses that God was not through with him yet and there was room for more change.

Paul’s testimony serves as a reminder that we need to look at any areas of brokenness in our life that might be holding us back spiritually.  Our spiritual growth is a lifelong process and should never stop this side of heaven.  As a result, we need to continually allow God to probe into those areas of our life that we have kept secret.

It is easy to compare ourselves to how others are doing spiritually but all along covering our issues, so others do not see them.  We are medicating the deep wounds of life with activities or substances that make us feel better for the moment.  It becomes our coping mechanism.

Often, we feel it is not safe to share our woundedness for fear that others will reject/abandon us or be critical in some way.  In many cases we have retreated into our own private worlds where we feel safe.  We often are afraid to share due to shame or pride.  As a result, our Christianity is only surface deep, and we struggle to keep up the front before others.

Often, we have forgotten how much God loves us and the depth of His grace.  He desires for us to deal with our brokenness that we might be free.  Free from the chains that keep us in shame and free to experience God in a real and life changing way.  Christ is inviting us to come to Him with our brokenness.  His love is not only demonstrated to us in salvation, but also as he relates to us each day.

The Apostle Paul had to honestly evaluate his life.  He had to admit his issues.  He thought he could please God through his human accomplishments.  God lovingly met with him where he was and not where he pretended to be.  Paul realized he had to give up all his human efforts in order to mature in Christ.

Paul is encouraging us to do the same.  He wants us to recognize those areas that need to change and to allow God’s power to bring healing.  We need to stop clinging to our human efforts to effect change.  Those methods only make us feel better about our core wounds for a moment.  We need to take hold of Christ and allow him to heal us from the inside out.
Prayer:  Lord, I need You to speak into my life.  Thank you for meeting me where I am and graciously helping me to move forward in my spiritual walk with You.  Show me Lord, the depth of Your love and grace as I deal with the issues of my life.  Amen
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