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If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Makes You Grow?

I have a question for my Christian friends:
When do you grow spiritually?

I was sharing coffee and ideas with my friend Nancy the other day.
We got to talking about some of our hardest times and how those were the days that caused us to: pray harder and more effectively,
share our challenges with other Christians,
read scripture with greater urgency,
 reflect more about what God is doing,
and examine our hearts more.

I said, "wouldn't it be great if we could just sit in our armchairs and "think and grow rich" in faith?
Nancy said, "Can you think of a time, any time, when you grew in comfort?"

Of course I knew the answer to that. No, I've never grown unless something uncomfortable challenged me to change from the status quo and grow.
Why is that?
Why can't we just study scripture, pray for wisdom and insight and greater love, etc. and then sit back and watch the Holy Spirit provide those things?
After all, isn't He the one Who sanctifies us and provides daily grace?

I guess it's just like my constant attempts to get healthier and slimmer.
I can read all the books about proper nutrition.
I can takes copious notes on the subject.
I can discuss exercise and diet with my friends.

But. . .
until I actually apply that knowledge I won't get any closer to realizing my dream. It'll take work, sacrifice, discipline. I have to actually cook better food. I have to actually get up and exercise.
But the reward is worth it.

Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful to vedge in front of the TV, licking an ice cream cone while listening to some diet guru? Then, after about two hours of listening and comprehending all that the diet guru said, the next time I dragged myself off the couch to look in the mirror, I'd be slimmer.

Isn't that a great fantasy?
It's a fantasy in the Christian life, too.

So the next time some challenge knocks me over the head: some health problem, some financial difficulty, some crisis with a family member, some problem with the neighbors, some inconvenient request for service or funds at the church. . .
I'd better get off my spiritual couch and start exercising my spiritual muscles with God's principles clearly in my head,
and His Holy Spirit undergirding me.

"Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory." (1 Peter 1: 6, 7 The Message)


  1. Hi Dena -

    I've grown and seen other people grow in both terrible circumstances and good ones. I've also seen people walk away from God when trouble hit. Growth happens when we trust Him through all of life: good and bad.


  2. So true, Susan. Usually, I find that during my "times of plenty" God gives me an opportunity (and a respite) to reflect on what I've learned during my times of challenge!