Doctrine #32: Growth

Are you looking to prove yourself wrong so that you can prove God Right? If you haven't changed your beliefs, you have two options. You are either perfect or not growing.

When you are a child, your body will grow until you reach the point where you stop. Then the process of death begins. If God has given our bodies the ability to grow, how much more does He care about the growth of our hearts, our souls, and our might?

People are either pursuing growth or they are pursuing comfort. Pursuing growth as a cause will be uncomfortable in the short term, but can result in comfort in the long term. Pursuing comfort as a cause will result in being uncomfortable in the long term. Everyone will be uncomfortable. What we are actually choosing is when to be uncomfortable: short term or long term.

Question: Do you believe you are pursuing growth or comfort?

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If you need it, here is the support from the Word of God...

"17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18 but God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 13:17-18)

(God knew that the children of Israel were young, and they needed to gain faith in How God was going to lead them. God made Israel uncomfortable in the short term when He could have kept them comfortable.)

"24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." (John 12:24-25)

(People think things go from bad to good. Actually, the Bible repeatedly stated things go from bad to good through worse. Jesus knew the kernel had to die (worse) in order to achieve good; the outer shell of the kernel cracks and breaks and ceases to be a kernel. If you want to walk by the Spirit you have to die to your flesh. It's a contradiction that we could live and die in both areas at once. Everytime things went directly from bad to good in the Bible, they ended up at worse in the long term...)

"4 For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand unto this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
6 And angels that kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, having in like manner with these given themselves over to fornication and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in like manner these also in their dreamings defile the flesh, and set at nought dominion, and rail at dignities.
9 But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
10 But these rail at whatsoever things they know not: and what they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, in these things are they destroyed.
11 Woe unto them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah." (Jude 1:4-11)

(Those who tried to be comfortable in the desert (angels, Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain, Balaam, Korah) all went from bad to good and ended up at worse in the long term. Animal thinking is focused on the WHAT. These people all found themselves in survival mode because they were looking to TAKE to get out of the hole, but it only made them worse.)

"19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

(In verse 19 we see you have the ability to store up treasure on earth, but if you do store it up on earth it will die. Treasure is a WHAT. Did Jesus give us a HOW and WHY? Yes! He told us to lay up our treasure in heaven, because it will not be consumed. You do not get the benefit now, but you do see it in heaven. This requires faith and looking from God's perspective: long term and with a Right HOW/WHY.)

"1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:1-2)

(Jesus said that the branch that beared fruit was "cleansed" which meant pruned: cut back. Why? So it bears more fruit. Pruning is worse in order to grow, which is good. Do you know when God is pruning you, versus when He is punishing you? Truth creates, so we can expect the more truth we have the more branches God is going to prune. Even Jesus was pruned! You would think that if He was Holy He would never have the need to produce more fruit, but it was actually the opposite. Because Jesus produced so much fruit, He was pruned much MORE by God the Father. This was growth!)

"5 The sower went forth to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it.
6 And other fell on the rock; and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7 And other fell amidst the thorns; and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Luke 8:5-8)

(Notice, ALL the seeds grew initially. Growth in the short term is a WHAT. The seeds that stopped growing didn't handle WORSE. The seeds that grew handled all of the worse conditions. What was the definition of good? The ground had the ability to create; you create with your HOW/WHY.)

"5 And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:5-7)

(The word "walk" means to make progress in or grow in. People who grow in darkness lie (you can grow in darkness) and do not the truth. People who grow in the light (God) are cleansed from all sin.)

"12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father." (John 14:12)

(God is always about more: about growth. Jesus said we would be able to do MORE than Him. WHY? We all have access to the Mind of Christ, and the mystery has been revealed to us.)

"6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

(In this passage, "upon his shoulder" meant the place of burdens. Jesus will grow in eternity, what He holds up will grow in eternity. Something doesn't have to be less in order for us to be more, this is man's thinking. When we see through man's thinking we are comparative, while growth is always contrastive. There can always BE more, because we believe that God through us can always create more.)

"18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not." (John 21:18)

(Jesus told Peter things would get more uncomfortable over time because he was growing. Your flesh is thinking as a man, short term and justifying yourself. There are places and situations that God would have you walk through because you could gain or grow. The more mature you get in your faith the more you will rely on God to direct you.)

"23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep;
26 in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my countrymen, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Besides those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, anxiety for all the churches." (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

(Paul recognized his discomfort was proof of his growth. Are you seeing difficult opportunities as chances for growth? Paul was good soil, God created through him.)

"10 And as we tarried there some days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And coming to us, and taking Paul's girdle, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
12 And when we heard these things, both we and they of that place besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 21:10-13)

(Right up to the end of Paul's life Paul was pursuing growth.)

Each of us is pursuing comfort in at least one area of our life. How do we detect it?

What is the area where you look comparatively and try to prove your point?
What is the area where you try to live with contradictions?
What is the area where you want to believe things are random (without cause) or unknowable (mystery)?

Since the beginning of time God has given the human race a chance to grow. Again and again we have chosen comfort over growth, even when it would hurt us. God desires for us to walk with wisdom in the light. While we were walking in the darkness God decided to turn on the lights. This was HOW He did it...