The Valleys of Life Birth Spiritual Growth

The Valleys of Life Birth Spiritual Growth
Devotion by Pastor Alexander L. Redd
May 24, 2025

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
(Romans 5:2-4 NLT).

It can be tempting to take the easier route in our faith walk with Christ Jesus, hoping to avoid difficult and painful times. We desire smooth and comfortable ways of life without trials and challenges. However, the truth is that spiritual depth is not found by going around the valleys; rather, through these very valleys of life, our souls are refined, and our faith is strengthened (1 Peter 1:7).

We can draw inspiration from the lives of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, who faced intense trials on their mission of God's kingdom plan and purpose. Jesus, during His earthly ministry, experienced rejection, betrayal, and, ultimately, the suffering of the cross. The Apostle Paul, after encountering Christ on the road to Damascus, endured persecution, imprisonment, and physical afflictions. Through their hardships, Christ and Paul showed that true spiritual depth is developed through adversity.

Believers in Christ must understand that spiritual growth requires inner strength that may surpass that of many other believers. We cannot avoid the challenges we encounter; instead, we should embrace them as opportunities for personal growth and transformation. Just as athletes push themselves beyond their limits to build strength and endurance, we must persevere in our faith, even when the journey becomes difficult.

In pursuing spiritual growth, we may need to let go of societal expectations of convenience and instant gratification. Our culture often promotes immediate satisfaction, but true spiritual depth requires patience and perseverance (James 1). Sometimes, we experience scarcity and must rely solely on our faith in God's provision rather than false promises of quick fixes, instant miracles, and worldly comforts (Matthew 6:33). These seasons of hardship teach us to trust in God's faithfulness and develop resilience in the face of adversity.

Some people may argue it is important to meet people where they are by acknowledging their desire for instant miracles, half-hearted fixes, and immediate gratification. While it is important to show compassion and understanding, preachers and teachers must also recognize their faithful responsibility for spiritually developing the saints. Just as caring parents guide their children away from relying on temporary comforts to promote maturity, church leaders must guide their flock to drink deeper waters of spiritual understanding and maturity through endurance.

Jesus' words in Matthew 7:13-14 reaffirm this: "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, which leads to life, and those who find it are few." The narrow path, though challenging, leads to spiritual depth and abundant life in Christ Jesus.

Accept the reality that spiritual depth is found through our hardships, not by avoiding them. As you look to the examples of Christ and the Apostle Paul, you find courage and inspiration to persevere in your faith. Do not be discouraged by the trials you encounter; continue with fortitude and trust in God's faithfulness.

Be willing to let go of societal expectations and false miraculous promises and endure periods of scarcity, knowing that your spiritual growth is worth every sacrifice. Faithful leaders and teachers must guide others toward deeper spiritual understanding and development, which is essential for their faith maturity, not half-hearted fixes and instant gratification.

Write Pastor Redd:

These are questions to think about and answer:
1) What are some of the trials and hardships that Jesus Christ faced in His earthly ministry?
2) What lessons can we learn from the sufferings of Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul?
3) According to today's devotion, why must believers embrace challenges and hardships on their path of faith?

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