Growing up – With the Lord
Growing up with the Lord – what an experience!
When I became a Christian, I had no idea that I would still be growing in the faith more than 20 years later. Though the ‘baby Christian’ phase came to an end at some point, thank God (it was crazy), I have since noted that the Christian walk is a lifelong learning program. Once you learn one lesson, God gives you a short break, and then takes you on to the next one! I call it growing up with the Lord.
Lessons are not easy, though. Last year I learnt so many lessons on faith and God’s plan. This year, within the two months that have already passed, I learnt more about faith in God and how he provides for us. As March begins, I can already see another lesson coming up on the horizon, one that I secretly wish I could run away from.
The learning period is never easy. When I was in high school, there was not much stress because I loved reading and I loved boarding school. When I landed in University, though, the drama began. The work was too hard, I barely understood what the lecturers were saying, the resources were few, the food was terrible, the hostels were crowded, there were frequent water shortages – oh, I could go on and on! But guess what – that is when I grew most in my faith.
Since then, I have continued my lifelong learning program that has had its highs, lows, joy, sorrows, disappointments, hurts, etc. I am, however, determined to continue this path. Below I share a couple of tips that have helped me through the year, tips that I hope and pray will be helpful to you.
Focus on the Lord
I know we all know what it means to focus on the Lord – keeping our eyes fixed on him as we run the race of life, with the hope of an eternal reward. Ask yourself, though, why should you and I focus on the Lord?
Well, we were all created by him, right? He, therefore, knows everything about us – why he created us, what he intends us to do in this life, etc. Here are some verses from one of my favorite chapters in the Bible that will help emphasize this point.
Psalm 139:1-5 “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” (NLT)
Later, in the same chapter, the Psalmist writes,
Psalm 139:15-16 “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (NIV)
The Lord knows us best – he knows our weak areas, areas where we still have some growing up to do, areas where we still need some ‘fine-tuning.’ When the learning period comes along and is at its hottest, therefore, the best person to talk to about it is the Lord because he knows why he needs you to learn that particular lesson.
Be firmly rooted in the Lord
I could go on and on about soil and how it affects plant growth. A few years ago, we lived in a house that had a huge compound and a huge shamba. The soil in that shamba was so fertile that every time it rained, weeds would sprout in a few days and cover the entire area. When I finally got around to do some gardening, my veggies were always green and healthy.
In contrast, the soil at the place where we live now is terrible. Anything I plant barely survives – the soil is hard and infested with greedy, vicious bugs that eat away at any leaf in sight.
It’s all about the soil. It’s all about where you are planted.
Some of us are Christians, yes, but we are not rooted in the Lord. We have chosen to dig our roots deep into soil that has a semblance of Christianity but no connection to the Lord. Any time we let our roots go down into the wrong soil, our foundation becomes shaky, and our faith begins to be founded on something other than God. What happens next? The ‘semester’ of God’s lesson begins, and we struggle, whine and resist, and with time, some of us even fall away.
A few years ago, my roots went down into the wrong soil. I was at a workplace where there was intense pressure to ‘forget’ about my faith. Because I was the only person at that place who was a born-again Christian, I started to waver. At that time, my life was a little challenging, and my colleagues were only too happy to provide the comfort I needed, with the hope of getting a valuable convert. I found myself moving closer and closer to them, as I put my roots into their warm, friendly soil… I almost gave up on Christ. Almost, though. I snapped out of it, yanked my roots out of the ‘friendly’ soil and planted them in the right place – the Lord.
As I look back on that experience, I realize that it was part of my growth process, because I have never had a repeat episode of that lesson. This lesson has carried me through many other lessons over the years because I know in my heart that if my roots are planted in the RIGHT soil, I will pass the test!
Colossians 2:7 “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (NLT)
Surrender to the Lord
Children love being told they are all grown up, or that they are a year older. What they do not often realize, however, is that with every new year comes more responsibility, more lessons, and more discipline sessions. Because most children understand who is in charge, however, they accept the lessons and the disciplining that goes along with them.
When a lesson comes along, do you surrender to the Lord and let him teach you? Do you understand that the lesson is necessary for you to reach maturity in the faith?
Back to my workplace story. At the time I was involved in a music ministry that was not attached to any church, but we were graciously hosted by our local church. One of the members felt that she needed to branch out her own, and this did not go down well with the rest of us. She finally did so, and because I really looked up to her, I was devastated, and my faith took a real hit. At this point, I had very few friends in church, and as a result, my workmates became my source of solace. That’s how I started drifting.
After I snapped out of the drifting stage, I realized that the Lord had a lesson for me. He wanted me to understand that ministry was not dependent on the lady who left the group or only confined to the area in which our team was ministering at the time. The Lord wanted me to know that He was the one who had called me and that he was the one who would use me. I then surrendered to him, learnt the lesson, and moved on to the next ministry phase.
When the Lord sends a lesson our way, he knows that there is something we need to learn – a lesson sent at a particular time to be learnt for life; a lesson that you (ideally) should not have to learn again. Unlike normal classroom lessons, however, you need to have your whole self involved while learning the lesson. It is easy to be in class, write notes and walk out after a normal lesson, right? In God’s classroom, you can’t do that, because your relationship with him involves your body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit. The Lord requires that you give all of yourself over to him in surrender as he teaches you. He does not just teach you and leave you stranded – he walks with you for the full duration of the lesson, and he is fully involved in the process.
Learning to surrender to the Lord is a whole lesson in itself – an integral part of growing up in the Lord. once you master the ‘art’ of surrender, though, the tough learning seasons will end a lot faster!
Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (NLT)
Growing up with the Lord is an exciting experience, once you focus on the Lord, plant your roots firmly in him in surrender, letting him do his thing in your life. Don’t forget, though, that once one lesson is over, the next one is just around the corner – all part of growing in the faith!
Hi, everyone! I hope you enjoyed reading this week’s article. I would love to hear from you, so please write your thoughts in the comments section below. Don’t forget to share this article with someone who can identify with and benefit from all that I have shared in this article. Have a blessed week ahead as we all continue learning in God’s classroom!
Hello, dear readers! Can you take a minute or two to nominate this blog for the BAKE Awards? I would really appreciate it. The voting link is https://submit.bakeawards.co.ke/, then the category to select is Category 18 – Religion/Spirituality, where you will type in my blog address – http://www.therelationshipmirror.com/blog. Thank you so much!