We have some strong misconceptions about what it means to grow spiritually. We expect it to be an intellectual experience, like memorizing Scripture. Or maybe we expect it be a mystical experience, like feeling God’s touch at a critical moment. We almost certainly expect it to be coupled with an emotional experience, specifically a positive emotional experience.
Unfortunately, these expectations will largely be unmet because spiritual growth is not just about what you know, or about our supernatural connection with God. Spiritual growth is mostly about character.
So what does God do to shape our character?
He puts us under pressure. He sends us into conflicts. He allows us to experience stress. He might even allow us to find some temptation.
Moving through these things will allow us to grow. Better be prepared for some pain along the way though. Sometimes it’s the kind of pain we feel when we are chastised. Other times it’s the pain of being betrayed by friends. It could also be the pain of knowing you failed someone you cared about.
I tell you all of this to give you this advice. Don’t despise the process of spiritual growth by avoiding pain. Don’t pray them away. Don’t switch to a church with less issues. Don’t write off people who challenge you. All of these things are likely to be a part of God’s plan to grow you.