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Falling From Freedom: Growing on Purpose

17/52 - Mellow Yellow

Who does not want to grow?  Hopefully none of us could honestly say, “No thank you, I am perfectly happy right where I am.  A perfect 10.  No need for improvement here.”  No!  We all want to grow.

Actually want to be grown.

If we could bypass the actual process of growing, with all of its awkwardness, fumbling, failure and pain, we would be happy.

It is the process that gets us every time.  It is the fact that no matter how far we travel, we will never reach the end of the road.  No matter how many days are behind us, there are days that still lie ahead.  No matter how many times we have not failed, the potential for failure still exists, and we do not like that.

We want to be grown up, grown out of our addiction.  We want to just become that amazing woman of God, wife, mother, ministry leader.  But we will never simply become her.

Like it or not, many of us embrace our faith and our struggle like a passive state of growth.  We treat ourselves like plants- completely out of control of our own growth.  A plant does not decide how it grows.  Its growth is affected by external factors- light, water, and nutrients.  If there is no light, no water, or no nutrients, then the plant simply will not grow.

But the plant cannot control those factors.  The best it can do is grow in the direction of the light and turn its leaves up for the rain.  It is a fairly passive process.

We can get caught in the trap of believing that our growth depends on things outside of our control.  My dad needs to come back.  That man who raped me never got caught.  I am 30 and still single.  I keep praying but God is not rescuing me.  Our list of factors can go on, and it can leave us frustrated, discouraged, and stunted.

If you approach your journey of freedom as some isolated passive incident, you will not grow; you will rot.

Rotting.  That is what it feels like when we fall from freedom.  We feel like a tree infested with termites- useless, pointless, hopeless, ugly, destined to fall.  Sound familiar?

How we prevent that ‘rotting’ is by pursuing growth.  Yes, we can pursue growth.  We can grow on purpose.  We are not some random tree planted in some random forest whose growth is determined by the chance soil of our lives and the rain of hormones.  In addition to that, our struggles with lust are not the only areas of our lives that require growth.

Instead of looking at your spiritual life like some plant, look at it like you do your body.  In order for your body to grow, you need to feed it, you need to take care of it.  If you want to get stronger, you have to put in effort.  It has to be a well-rounded effort too.  There is no reason to think you will be an athlete if all you do is sit around on the couch all day eating potato chips (even the low fat ones).

If you want to have a strong faith, a strong stand in freedom, you have to work on your strength- from all angles.

Faith is active and it is encompassing.  It would be nice if we could tackle our troubles one at a time- small group for lust and then once I beat that, I will move on to a small group for self-esteem, and then once I have completed that, I will worry about the whole ‘becoming a woman after God’s heart” thing.

The issue with that approach is we never fully “tackle” one problem.

Lust addicts can get stuck here, because lust is the biggest issue in our lives right now.  And it is a big issue.  It is an intensely personal issue that infiltrates our thoughts, destroys our emotions, limits our social interaction, and seemingly cripples our ministry.  It is a big deal to us!  It cannot be the only deal.

We might hear of a Bible study or a conference and think, “That’s not important.  That’s not where I am right now.  I need something that deals with lust.”  That is not always true.  All of us are at a place where we can grow.  The question is whether or not we are willing.

It is important, on this journey of freedom, that you purposefully grow your whole faith.  Yes, it is good to work on getting stronger in this particular battle but never at the expense of your faith.  Go to church.  Be invested in Bible study.  Understand that you are a whole person and there is more to your journey than just beating this.

Don’t get tunnel-visioned.  This is only one part of God’s bigger story in your life.  Purpose to grow into the well-rounded woman of God He desires you to be.  Just like you stretch and strengthen multiple muscle groups at the same time, always be willing to challenge yourself and grow on purpose.  It will give you strength to stand.

Photo: Nanagyei / Foter / CC BY

One comment

  1. This is so good.
    I’m at a place right now where I’ve moved across the country to study university, and I’m serving in a small church that was started 3 years ago out of my old church.
    Being a new-ish church I’m being given opportunities to lead or serve that in my heart I’m thinking “But I stumbled to lust this week? How can I lead the church in worship?”
    But I’m realising that I just need to be faithful in serving God, and his church, and purposely seeking growth.
    I’m challenging myself to read books by people like Tozer and Spurgeon and some other theologians instead of just reading books about lust.
    Growth is not instant, but I’m praying that as I fill my mind with God’s truth in all areas of my life that lust will get back in line and I will start to walk in victory again.