You Can't... But You Can.

When you’re a kid, life is all fun and games with no worries. But around that time that you approach middle school, and you see the freedoms that come with being a bit older (driver’s license, for major example), you get to a point when you just want to grow up! We’re starting a new series called “Growing Up,” but not talking about the privileges of being older. We’re talking about spiritual growth - the importance of it, the challenges of growing in your faith, and what to specifically focus on to grow more. So check out the blog below for our first week of our “Growing Up” series! 

I have a confession: I can be a pretty bad procrastinator. It hit me hardest when I was in college. I once held off on starting a 75 page single spaced paper for my college internship until two weeks before it was due (and I had the entire semester to work on it… dumb!). I seriously was unsure if I’d be able to complete that paper in time… Have you ever had that feeling you just could not accomplish what was needed to be accomplished? Being uncertain if you can complete something can totally be experienced in our spiritual journey. Maybe you desire to be a better Christian, but don’t know if you can do it. Perhaps there is a big sin in your life that you cannot overcome, and believe you just can’t get past it. Or when your faith is a plateau, and you don’t think you can grow out of it. At times, we may believe we cannot spiritually grow, because of disbelief and obstacles that are in the way. When we think we don’t have the ability to “be a better Christian,” and we think we can’t spiritually grow - what do we do?!

2 Peter was written by Peter, one of Jesus’ most dedicated, courageous, and faithful apostles. He wrote this letter to Christians to warn about false teachings and against faith complacency. Peter encourages Christians to grow - he gives guidance to growing Christians, shares dangers growing Christians will face, and reveals hope that growing Christians have to look forward to. In 2 Peter 1:3-4, he gives growing Christians the right mindset to have if feel as though we cannot spiritually grow:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

God, in all His power, gives us all that we need to live a godly life. The power that created the vast universe, down to the smallest cell - the author of life, the power that sustains all things and has control over everything - that great power gives us everything we need to help us live for Him and keep us away from sin. So if you have ever said to yourself, “I can’t do this… I can’t grow my faith… I can’t beat this nagging sin I always fall into… I don’t know if I have the ability to keep my faith going…” — you are absolutely correct. As humans, we just do not have the resources to live a godly life on our own. We can’t do it. But God can! It’s not about you or your strength, it’s not about your ability to defeat sin, it’s not about your ability to grow as a amore mature Christian — it’s all about God and the strength He gives you, His ability to conquer, and His wisdom to grow… When you think you just can’t be a “better Christian” — know you can’t, but God can!

At first, that thought seems a bit discouraging and depressing (that “you can’t”), but to really accept this is to be wildly encouraged. I personally completely accept the fact that in my faith, I am just not good enough. I could never live my life holy enough to earn my way to Heaven, I am purely saved on what Jesus has done for me. I could never defeat sin on my own, but I trust the Spirit inside me can and will provide the strength I need. We don’t have to lean on our own understanding, God’s power gives us all that we need to grow in our faith. So, technically, in a roundabout way, you CAN grow in your faith and defeat the tough sins, it’s just not you who does it - it’s all about trusting that God will provide the power you need to live a godly life. 

So what do we do with this concept of knowing that we’re unable to grow on our own, but God giving the power to spiritually grow us? I think this totally changes the way we pray. In moments when you want to go deeper but you don’t think you can - ask God to give you what you need to go deeper in your faith! When sin is defeating you and you’ve been relying on your own strength, pray and ask God to give you the strength you need to beat that sin! When your faith is flat-lining, don’t lean on your own understanding but ask God to provide the confidence, wisdom, and truth you need. We are not expected to grow and be better Christians on our own, God isn’t expecting us to take matters into our own hands. We have a God that gives us all we need — let’s ask Him to provide what we need when we need it, and trust that He will gives us all we need to spiritually grow.