Alli and Kathryn begin this episode with a tongue-tied welcome. Maybe it has something to do with the matching beanies they were wearing? Either way, today's episode is all about highlighting some of what can hinder us from becoming our best selves. Growing takes time and discipline, and hopefully by understanding some of the factors that can stunt our growth, we might be able to find solutions to these hindrances.
1. The Flesh
What is our flesh? Simply put, it's our human desires. Some examples of what we have innately in us (you don't have to teach a child these things before they show up!) include selfishness, apathy, control, carelessness, anger, and bitterness. Matthew Henry has a great quote on this:
“'If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness' 1 John 1:8-9. We must beware of deceiving ourselves in denying or excusing our sins. The more we see them–the more we shall esteem and value the remedy.
The Christian religion is the religion of sinners–of such as have sinned, and in whom sin in some measure still dwells. The Christian life is a life of . . .continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin,continual faith in, thankfulness for, and love to the Redeemer, and hopeful joyful expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which the believer shall be fully and finally acquitted, and sin abolished forever!"
Philippians 2:4-8 says:
"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:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!"
In humility, we can follow Jesus' lead and choose God's way above our own flesh and desires. It's not always easy, but in the power of the Holy Spirit given to us through Jesus, we have the ability to live a life apart from sinful choices as we are made aware and choose to follow God's path.
2. Spiritual Warfare
Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Matthew 4: 1-11 shows us that Satan loves to tempt us when we are weak and vulnerable, and his mode of operation is to twist God's truth in a way that deceives us. Jesus combats the enemy by using specific scripture to squash the lie and replace it with God's truth. With this example, we see how powerful God's word can be when battling Satan's lies. Sometimes it's hard to even identify that we are believing a lie, but with the help of others and by taking time to reflect on God's truth, we can become more aware of the lies we are believing and fight against them with specific Scripture.
3. Sin and Temptation
Sin always effects. Dwelling in it (whether sitting on sins we committed or those committed against us), we can be stunted and kept away from healing and moving forward.
Christian counseling or therapy can be necessary at times to heal.
It's also important to remember that shame and guilt are not from God. He does convict us in our own sin, but as we believe in Christ and practice continual repentance, we are forgiven and made new. Alli shares a powerful decision she has made that has allowed her to experience less temptation which has allowed her to grow.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."- Ephesians 5: 15-16
Suffering does not hinder growth:
Romans 5:3-4 says, "we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
Suffering is inevitable, but God doesn't let it happen without bringing something beautiful from it. He doesn't desire it for us, but He uses it to mature us. Charles Spurgeon said: “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”
We do want to highlight that God doesn't want us to endure all suffering, as there are definitely things that He wants us to flee from. Abuse, or anything harmful to us is not anything God wants us to stay in and endure. We encourage you to talk to someone if you have concerns about whether or not you are suffering through something that you don't need to be experiencing. Proverbs 22:3 says, "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty."
How can we fight our flesh when it gets in the way of our personal and spiritual goals? (taking Jesus' example in Philippians 2:4-8, by humbling ourselves, we can rely on His power and Word to choose God's will above our own)
Identify lies you may be believing about yourself or your life. What truth can you find in the Bible that can replace that lie?
Is there a habit you are trying to kick that you know isn't the best for you? What steps can you take to remove temptation if you are struggling to change your behavior?
Please reach out to us and let us know your thoughts! We are grateful for each of you who found your way here! Click to listen to the episode.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
How People Grow by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
The Best Yes by Lisa TerKeurst
City in the Sky on Netflix