A friend is going through a dynamic that probably sounds all too familiar. The Holy Spirit convicts you about something, such as to stop complaining and, instead, be intentional about expressing gratitude. This message is repeated wherever you go – in a sermon, in a book you are reading, in something a friend shares about his or her own spiritual journey, etc. You resolve to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, spend time in prayer before you interact with anyone, and step into your day, fully expecting God to bless your obedience as you walk into victory.
Instead, you walk into the kitchen and see that the dog has soiled the floor. You clean that up, which makes you late leaving for work. Traffic is backed up from a wreck, making you 10 minutes late for an important meeting. At that meeting, you learn that you are losing your biggest client … and the hits just keep coming … you get a call from the school that your child has detention … your spouse has to work late and needs you to pick up dinner. By the time you get home, not only did you fail to walk in victory, but your level of complaining and lack of gratitude is ten times worse than on a typical day. You ask, “Where was God? I was trying to obey Him, and everything that could possibly go wrong did. What did I do wrong? Does God not care?”
Christians who have been around the spiritual growth block are probably chuckling right now because we have all been there. I shudder whenever I hear someone tell me that he is praying for patience because I know he has just invited lots of waiting into his life. After all, how does one learn patience without having to wait? The same is true for the example I just shared. It’s easy not to complain and to express gratitude when everything goes your way. No effort is required for that. Spiritual growth comes from intentionally choosing to express gratitude rather than complain as life dumps all over you.
In this blog series, we will talk about this frustrating dynamic of spiritual growth and how to learn to walk in victory.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace shrugging her shoulder and asking, “Why?” Courtesy Bitmoji.]