One of the problems with discipleship in America is that we’ve removed the pain. We want to run around and put a pillow under rear-ends. And by keeping everything safe, we keep people from growing.
Growth only happens with resistance and friction. Scott Molgard
is a personal trainer. He can take you on a tour of the weight room, but until you’ve worked on his kettlebells, you’re not going to build any muscles. And Scott will tell you, to really build muscles, keep increasing the weights you try to lift.
Spiritual growth is like that too. The greater the pain, the greater the growth.
If you’re a young person whose mother was always following you around making sure that life was never too rough, I hate to break it to you, but I can almost guarantee that you are spiritually immature. Your mom did you no favor by protecting you from pain – you need pain to grow.
This is one reason it’s so hard to initiate young people. Initiation is about introducing a young person to pain, pain that is a normal part of adult life. When you’re an adult, unless your parents gave you a trust fund, no one is there to buffer you from pain. Under-perform and your boss will fire you. And if you run from conflict in your relationships, they will become dysfunctional.
A few examples of how pain helps you grow:
- You drink too much and people ridicule you and you learn the penalty of self-indulgence.
- You struggle through a five-day fast. It’s hard, but the Lord speaks to you.
- You wound a friend with your words, but you humble yourself and apologize.
- Your grandfather dies and causes you to question your faith.
When we initiate a young person through the World Race, we ask him or her to leave everything behind – to
abandon the stuff that makes them comfortable. It’s painful, but the process gets
them to a place of brokenness. When we feel broken and inadequate, then we start to rely on God more. And it’s then that we start to grow up.
If you want to grow as a disciple, ask God to show you where you can press into pain more.