"Don't pray for patience!"
Have you ever heard this bit of advice? It comes from the idea that if we pray for patience, God will give us lots of (unpleasant) opportunities to help us grow in our longsuffering. And I have a confession to make: I found this same sentiment creeping in when I first decided that I wanted to focus on spiritual growth this year. If I pray and ask God to help me grow in my walk with Him, will He give me more trials to bring about that growth that I so desire?
This thinking actually made me scared to want spiritual growth.
But not too long ago, a dear friend pointed out the unbiblical nature of this way of thinking.
First, we're commanded to pray about all things in Philippians 4:6-7. We pray and ask for help in other areas of our lives; why not in the areas of patience and spiritual growth, too?
Second, the Bible shows us that God is a loving Heavenly Father and only gives good things to His children. Assuming that He will give us difficult circumstances simply because we ask Him to help us grow is contrary to His good, loving nature. We can rest in the fact that if He allows a hardship in our lives - whether or not related to patience or spiritual growth - it is for His good and our glory.
I know all of this in my head, and I'm working on correcting my attitude. But I still feel nervous about asking for spiritual growth. Old ways of thinking are hard to let go of. Instead of giving in to my fears, though, I'm pressing ahead, asking for the Holy Spirit's help in becoming more Christlike, and taking time to study and learn about spiritual growth.
So, I have a challenge for you today: will you join me in desiring and praying for spiritual growth? I'd love to have some companionship on this journey. Share in the comments if your desire is for spiritual growth this year, too. Also, please feel free to download your own copy of the Spiritual Growth workbook, available to all of my subscribers. It's not fancy, but my prayer is that this workbook will help you in your walk with Christ!