When I see my grandkids going through a hard time, the first thing I do is to sit them down and remind them how special they are. “Do you know in God’s eyes you are so precious? He loves you so much!” I tell them. “This thing that you are wrestling with now is just part of the process of growing up.”
Why should that message be any different for any one of us? We’re all in need of growth.
We’re all in need of growing more loving, more peaceful, more patient, more kind, more good, more faithful, more gentle, and more self-controlled. I know that the hard times Jan and I have experienced (even just within the past year) have been so important to us as we go deeper in our understanding of who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” — Galatians 5:22-25
Every Monday I meet with a group of nine guys who I do life together with. Recently we were talking about who we are in Christ. We throw that phrase out often within Christian circles, but do we ever stop to think about what it really means?
The truth is that, as believers, the Holy Spirit dwells within each one of us. I know that I can trust Him to live in and through me. Because of His presence in me I have these characteristics and can trust the Holy Spirit will express them through me.
In my humble opinion, Christianity — the Jesus way — is not that complicated. In fact, it’s pretty simple and yet incredibly profound. If we are new creatures in Christ, with His Holy Spirit living within us, we are in a state of constant maturation, becoming the people that God has created us to be. This is a lifelong journey, however, it’s our flesh that often tries to get in the way.
“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” — Romans 7:21-23
Paul speaks about the influences of the world that distract us from who we really are. I find that the more I delight in God’s way, the more I can recognize the reality of my sin. As I acknowledge my many moments of brokenness, God reminds me that He is walking with me and working through me through it all.
Our lives are not perfect, they’re not always packaged beautifully, but sometimes the greatest gifts come in ugly packages. It’s amazing to see what happens when we surrender our lives to Him, to be used for His glory and not our own. Our lives then become a continual reflection of His faithfulness and provision.
When people ask me what has made my life so different — why I am the way I am after all I’ve been through — I put it simply.
— Dave Dravecky is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.