Spiritual Growth Requires Change
By Rick Warren
God's purpose in every change in your life is to make you more like Jesus.
The promise of Romans 8:28 is wonderful: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT). But it doesn't make sense until you read the next verse: "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son" (Romans 8:29 NLT).
God doesn't just want you in his family. He also wants you to develop the family characteristics of a child of God. He wants you to grow spiritually. And your model for maturity is Jesus Christ.
So what is Jesus like? The best picture of Jesus’ character is the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (ESV).
God produces that kind of fruit in you by putting you in situations full of the exact opposite circumstances, where you get a chance to learn and practice these character qualities.
You don’t learn kindness when you’re around the nicest people; you don’t learn contentment when you have everything you want. So when God teaches you how to love, he doesn’t put you around people who are easy to love; he puts you around unlovable people.
Anybody can be happy when everything's going their way. But God teaches you true joy in the middle of suffering and grief and heartbreak.
It's easy to be peaceful when there is no struggle in your life. When God teaches you peace, he'll allow chaos and conflict in your life to teach you the peace that passes understanding.
How does God teach you patience? By placing you in long line at the Department of Motor Vehicles or at a delayed doctor appointment. Anytime you have to wait, God is teaching you patience to make you more like Jesus.
Change is not always easy, but the big and small ways you’re growing in spiritual maturity will make it worth it.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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