Spiritual Growth Tip #2 – Embrace the Tension

I recently watched Andy Stanley deliver a series of messages called Future Family. In the first message, he sets the stage by describing a pattern we all see and experience in our lives as Christ Followers. There is the real, the ideal–and the tension that exists between the two.


God sets some very lofty goals for our spiritual growth–don’t sin, keep a pure thought life, love our enemies, do all to the glory of God. Many of us compare these ideals to the reality in our lives and just want to give up. It seems impossible to live up to God’s demands.

So what we do is normalize our lives. We think: It’s just normal for me to have impure thoughts, after all I am a hot-blooded American male. We just settle for who we are now and give up on God’s ideals. But Jesus teaches us to embrace the tension between our present lives and what He wants us to become. That tension is for our good.

Childbirth comes to mind as a beautiful metaphor to describe this. As the baby moves through the tension of the womb, processes are set in motion, enabling that baby to survive in a new world.

What tensions are you having to embrace in your life that are making you stronger? How do you see this tension working to your advantage?

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

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