What Brings Spiritual Growth?Bro. Ron Rupé
8/1/2004 11:00 AM
So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered Christ had to learn obedience through suffering. Theres an unchanging, unavoidable spiritual principal here: Spiritual growth comes primarily through suffering. Many lessons can only be learned through experiencing difficulty. Lasting understanding is often obtained through hardship. This isnt talking about learning right and wrong by suffering the consequences of sin. Only a fool learns this kind of lesson that way.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
This is Gods desire for all of his children. This is true spiritual growth. It is becoming strong, established and settled in the things of God.
Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered;
Even Christ had to learn this way. Were not greater than he is. When it requires effort and suffering, following him anyway is true obedience. Christ learned obedience in the garden. Suffering is where we learn true submission and obedience.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
If Christ learned through suffering, how do we expect to learn any other way? How can you learn trust and faith without any problems? God doesnt always answer immediately so that we can learn faith and patience. Longsuffering is learned through suffering. Is the prize worth the sacrifice? The suffering in itself doesnt cause spiritual growth. How you respond to the suffering causes spiritual growth. The wrong response is to flail about as one who beats the air. Beating the air will wear your spirit out. Its trying to overcome a problem in your own strength. Wrong responses waste energy and dont promote growth. Blaming, striking out, getting angry these are wrong responses.
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Suffering brings spiritual growth only when it causes you to draw nigh to God. God gives grace to the humble. Perfection comes from drawing nigh to God. When we surrender to God, he pours out his grace and glory on us.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
The spiritual growth cycle is: 1) Trouble 2) Trust and Patience 3) Experience 4) Hope. Trouble comes and causes us to draw nigh to God by trusting him and waiting with patience. Then we experience his grace and glory, which causes our hope, faith, and expectation to grow. This happens over and over and over again.
1 Peter 5:6-10
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
The end result of suffering is to be perfect, established, strengthened, and SETTLED. Suffering is unsettling, but the end result is being more settled than before.