Grow Christian, Grow!
By Kay W. Camenisch
When we were in seminary, I often visited with a friend as our children played together. On several occasions she shared about difficult things going on in her life. Each time she would say, “I can see God sitting up in heaven and saying,"'Grow Christian, Grow.” [She’d drop her voice to imitate a low male voice.]
I’ve thought of my friend often in the last few weeks as I picture God up in Heaven, smiling down on me, saying, “I love you, child, but it’s time to (with low voice) Grow Christian, Grow.” The picture helps me to remember that hard times are good. God has a purpose in all things, and even though the days are sometimes long or difficult, this will ultimately be for my good and hopefully good for His Kingdom. Remembering those things helps me to press on.
My current class requiring growth began in early December with two encounters with God’s Word. First, Ephesians 5:22 convicted me that I need to give thanks to God always for all things. I had become aware of discontentment and murmuring, and the verse reminded me to work on being consistently grateful to God, trying to see life from His perspective, and trying to focus on Him, not on circumstances.
Within a week, while still in process of learning to be grateful, another verse hit hard. Colossians 3:23 reminded me to do my work heartily, as for the Lord, not for me. While the confrontation was stronger, there was a bit of an “aha!” because it was an answer to prayer. It provided the key to bring peace where I had been struggling but hadn’t been able to figure out what my problem was.
I was grateful for God’s goodness and patience to mold and make me, even in areas where He’s spoken clearly in the past. It amazes me that He never gives up. However, the lesson didn’t end there. This class has a lab attached.
The day before Christmas, my mother-in-law became bed-ridden, and much of her care is my responsibility. Those verses were not just words of correction. They were words of preparation and guidelines for the days and weeks ahead. In all things, I need to be grateful and do my work as unto Him.
God has graciously provided help and strength for each day, but I’ve learned a secret. When my heart is right, His grace is sufficient. However, if I’m judging, not grateful, or not doing my work as unto the Lord, I don’t feel His grace. If I want to experience His grace, it’s time for me to "Grow Christian, Grow." Some days it seems that I may some day learn the lessons at hand. On others, it’s a good thing I have a loving husband who takes up the slack when I fail.
God continues to guide my education. At church, we are studying Galatians. This morning I looked back over chapter 5, before reading chapter 6. God highlighted the following as I read (from NASB). The verses speak for themselves, detailing my assignments.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (5:22-23, 25)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” (6:2)
“And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (6:9)
“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.” (6:11)
I know Paul was speaking of writing with his own hand to the Galatians. However, they could just as well be God’s words written in large letters just to me. Some moments in my present circumstance may seem difficult, but God is gently reminding me to keep my eyes on Him, my trust in Him, and to embrace Him in the process because it’s time to "Grow Christian, Grow."
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Kay W. Camenisch is the author of Uprooting Anger: Destroying the Monster Within. She has been published in The Upper Room and The Lookout. Contemporary Drama has published one of her plays, and she is a regular contributor to a newspaper column. Send Kay your comments
Kay is also a pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother. She has worked closely in ministry with her husband, including in local churches, as missionaries in Brazil, working with a church school, training young adults to mentor troubled youth, and establishing and directing a ranch for troubled young men.
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