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Growing Pains

by Sis. Shannon Shafer

Growth. It is a part of life. In the spring and summer, the grass, the flowers, and the vegetable plants in our gardens all begin to grow. Trees grow; their limbs stretching towards the sky until they are towering high above us. Growing is not an instantaneous thing, but a process; a natural progression of life. If something is not growing, our first question often is, “Why? What is wrong?”

Children are always growing, and it is a painful and unpleasant thing for them. They do not remain that little bundle in their mother’s arms for long, and they are not meant to. I remember lying in bed at night as a child, loathing the achy growing pains that I was experiencing. It can often be a miserable process, but it is also healthy and profitable.

From a spiritual perspective, God desires for us to grow, and sometimes, this can also be an unpleasant and painful process. Just as a parent desires to see their child grow and be strong, God desires to see saved young people growing and prospering spiritually and becoming an asset to the kingdom.

Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”

God has given us evangelists, pastors and Sunday school teachers to instruct and guide us that we may apply the Word of God to our lives and become strong, knowledgeable and useful.

1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby….”

A slow and steady application of the Word of God will strengthen a newly saved person and promote growth within them. The word “grow” means to advance, to improve, and to make progress.

Since God desires for us to grow, we should have that desire for ourselves. The life of salvation is a beautiful life, full of blessings and peace that can never be found in the life of sin. Each one of us owes our whole lives to Him. After all, he could have just left us in the miserable clutches of sin.

A spiritually healthy young person is happy to be all that God wants them to be, and do all God wants them to do. There is nothing more rewarding than feeling the smile and approval of God.

1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Though God’s expectations are not grievous to a truly saved person, sometimes the flesh does recoil at times. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.”

Sometimes we must die to our feelings, thoughts, or perhaps our timidity. I do not know a single saint who loves to be in front of people and be the center of attention, but it is a good thing for a young person to testify in the congregation, sing a song, or help carry the burdens during prayer meeting, taking your turn praying in the congregation for the needs of the saints and for unsaved souls. It is an encouragement to the pastor and other saints to see spiritually healthy young people growing and taking on responsibility in the services. What would our services be like if only one person, testified, prayed, and sang? God loves to see young people growing and putting their hearts into their salvation. If he asks you to testify, sing or pray, He will always give you the help that you need to do it.

I remember personally praying in my daily devotions that God would give me the courage and help that I needed to pray on a Wednesday night because I felt that in myself, I could not do it. God understood my shyness and He helped me in a very real and special way, and He will do the same for you. For some, these things may not be hard, but for those timid young people who love God and want to grow and be an asset in the congregation, be encouraged: God will help you!

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”