Just as in physical training, spiritual maturity is a gradual, intentional process that requires a plan and the time for it to be executed. In spiritual training, it is a coach-athlete relationship of struggling through assigned difficulties to experience anticipated results.
” . . . an inheritance . . . reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. . .” 1 Peter 1:5-7
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
The hardships God allows us to go through all contribute to the eventual mature holiness He intends for us. All through life, these trials must become gradually more difficult, to accomplish the strengthening He desires. Though the medicine is bitter, the result is health, holiness, and usefulness.
“He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:10-11
“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14
Do not let up, Lord. Wisely demand of me all the arduous, painful exercises that will make me strong, mature, wise, holy, and useful in Your hands. Sharpen me as a useful tool in Your hands. Help me not to wriggle out of your loving hand, cringing and complaining that it is too hard. I trust You to do what is right, as my loving Coach.