1988) Why, or What?

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“God Wants You to Grow Up,” by Rick Warren, Daily Hope meditation, September 19, 2018, at http://www.pastorrick.org:

     God created you to become like Christ.  He wants you to grow up spiritually.

     The Bible says, “From the very beginning God decided that those who came to him—and all along he knew who would—should become like his Son” (Romans 8:29 TLB).  God’s goal has always been to make you like himself—not to become a god but to become godly, with godly character.

     The number one question I’m asked as a pastor is, “Why is this happening to me?”  I’ll tell you why: It’s to help you grow up spiritually.  Everything in life is designed to help you grow up spiritually—the good, the bad, the ugly, the stuff you bring on yourself, and the stuff that other people do to you.  God is not the author of evil.  But God can bring good out of bad things.

     Instead of asking, “God, why is this happening to me?” ask, “God, what do you want me to learn from this?”  Every situation in life will either make you bitter or better.  You choose how you will respond to it.

     Every problem has a purpose, and the purpose is to help you grow up spiritually to be more like Jesus Christ.

     So if one of the purposes of your life is to grow up spiritually and to become like Jesus, what is Jesus like?  When you look at him, you see what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit.  It says, “He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 TLB).  These are the qualities God wants to build in your life.

     How does God produce those qualities in your life?  How does God grow character and help you grow up spiritually?  God teaches you these qualities by putting you in the exact opposite situation.

     He teaches you love by putting you around unlovely people.  He teaches you joy in the middle of grief.  God teaches you peace in the middle of chaos.  He teaches you patience in the Department of Motor Vehicles!

     God will teach you all of these qualities throughout your life—and it will take the rest of your life.  It’s a process.  He will use all kinds of situations in your life to help you develop spiritual depth and become more like Christ.

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Ephesians 4:15  —  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.

Romans 8:29  —  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Philippians 2:1-5  —  If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:22-23a  —  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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Day by day,
Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by Day.

–From the 1971 musical Godspell,

Based on a prayer by Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)