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The Cycle of Growth

Our greatest strengths can also be our greatest weaknesses. For example, if we are good at being organized and orderly, then we may also be inflexible and critical, or harsh toward people around us who are not so good at those things. When we value our way of doing things so highly that it takes priority over God’s way, then we are like those Paul talks about in Romans 10:3, establishing our own form of righteousness rather than God’s.

Knowing our strengths and weaknesses is important because it helps us see who the Father has made us to be and also enables us to understand His purpose for our lives. To this end we must intentionally plan for growth. The Kingdom path to maturity is through Discipleship:

· Allows for faster intentional growth

· Means agreeing with God to make specific, necessary changes.

· Includes choosing to follow someone who has already made the journey.

4 Steps to Change on Journey of Discipleship:

1. Seeing and being honest about what we are like, our strengths and weaknesses, and knowing what needs to change

2. Accepting ourselves without judgment in light of this knowledge, even before we change (this is not equated with approval of wrong behaviors) and acknowledge that change must come from the inside out, which requires the help of the Holy Spirit and people around us.

3. Engage in the process of replacing who we are now with who God is making us to be, with His help. This means doing the work of replacing our thoughts with God’s, and responding to emotions that pull us into wrong behaviors by apprehending His truth and wisdom for each situation.

4. Sit back and become a spectator of the change in our lives as we watch God work to alter our inner man when we set ourselves in agreement with Him.

Along the Way, Beware:

· Of being paralyzed by emotions that come when we make “mistakes”

· Of comparing ourselves and our progress to others and their journey

· Of viewing mistakes as being “wrong” events rather than opportunities to learn and gain new information for growth.

Be Encouraged by God’s example in Genesis 2:18-22:

· First He created man.

· Then He saw that something was NOT good because he was alone.

· So God tries to remedy this problem by bringing all the animals by for Adam to name and see if there is a companion for him there.

· When He sees that His first idea does not work He comes up with a different plan.

The Father wants us to know that it is okay to learn and improve along the way through the mistakes we make rather than being thrown off track by them. Learn to counter the destructive emotions and self-judgment that come with errors with God’s truth—He loves us and is eager to help us as we maintain the attitude of being a disciple, and grow through the process. Seek wisdom, learn from mistakes, and practice—persevere until you see the necessary changes in yourself.

Think About:

What are your strengths and how can they sometimes be weaknesses? Are you seeking God’s righteousness or your own? When you perceive yourself as having failed, or making a mistake, what emotions come with it and what is the truth that will counter your feelings and help you move forward?

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