rebelling against low expectations

Do You See Growth?


We first read “Holiness” by J.C. Ryle when we were fifteen. Our older brother, Joshua, gave us both a copy as a gift and the three of us read through it together. Revisiting it five years later, we still find it encouraging and challenging — with much to say about low expectations and complacency in the life of a Christian.

“The Christian who is always at a standstill…”

This morning the following passage jumped off the page. It is one of five reasons Ryle shares for why continued growth is of infinite importance to the soul. We trust it will convict and challenge you as much as it did us:

Ryle writes: “The Christian who is always at a standstill, to all appearance the same man, with the same little faults, and weaknesses, and besetting sins, and petty infirmities, is seldom the Christian who does much good. The man who shakes and stirs minds, and sets the world thinking, is the believer who is continually improving and going forward. Men think there is life and reality when they see growth.” (Holiness by J.C. Ryle – pp. 103-104)

Men think there is life and reality when they see growth. Isn’t that true to experience? How many hearts have been warmed through seeing the stunning transformation brought about by conversion? Radical change in a person’s life almost requires a supernatural explanation — God must have changed their hearts!

But Ryle is telling us that growth and change should be the mark of a Christian, not only at conversion, but for the rest of his life. We should always be growing!

How can we be expected to grow continually?

Ryle is not setting forward an unrealistic expectation. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Gal. 5:22-23). This is the result of beholding our Savior and being changed from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18). This is the ongoing process of sanctification as God completes the good work He started in us (Phil. 1:6). Christians not only will keep growing, but they must keep growing.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that growth will be uninterrupted, or that there won’t be seasons of dryness. We all experience those. The difference between mature and immature believers is not the absence of spiritual valleys, but the refusal to remain at a standstill (Phil. 3:12-14). This means that the mature believer will fight against stagnancy and persevere through it, holding fast to Him who never lets us go. It means that the general trend of his life, from one year to the next, will be growth.

So what about you? What evidence of “life and reality” can you see from one year to the next? Are you improving and going forward — or are you resting on the laurels of past spiritual highs? Do you love God more than you did last year — or have you been content at a standstill? Do you see growth in your life?

When you don’t see growth in your life…

Your answers to these questions may concern you. And you may have good reason for concern. Read carefully through the following categories and be honest with yourself about where you are in your walk with God. This is very serious.

If you are fighting through a dry spell, be encouraged. All the most eminent saints of history have experienced the same. God has not given up on you — and even through this season He is teaching you to be faithful. Remember the words of the psalmist: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” And in your waiting, fight for joy in God. We highly recommend reading “When I Don’t Desire God” by John Piper — and, of course, “Holiness” by J.C. Ryle.

And if you have given up fighting, be exhorted. In his book, “Crazy Love,” Francis Chan describes life as a never-ending downward escalator. In order to grow in Christ we must sprint back up the escalator — to stand still is to move backwards. The good news is that there are endless supplies of fresh strength for those who wait upon the Lord (Isa. 40:30-31). And in your waiting, fight for joy in God. You will also be well-served by the Piper book recommended above.

But if you have never fought at all, be concerned. Those who have little care for spiritual growth, and have shown minimal progress over the course of their Christian lives, should seriously question whether their faith is genuine. The Bible makes this clear. A tree is known by its fruit (Luke 6:43-45). Faith without works is dead (James 2:14, 17). Spiritual life and reality will result in growth.

This brings you to a vital question. This post may have been a mirror into your life (James 1:23-24). Will your turn away and forget what you saw? We plead with you: Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart (Heb. 3:15). Rather, repent and believe that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord of your life — and be transformed from the inside out, today and for the rest of your life.

Soli Deo Gloria! (To God Alone be the Glory)

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Interestingly, God just helped me out of a VERY, VERY dry season of life. I was attending a secular school with major issues and over time I became so complacent that people started asking me to go to counseling without even knowing what was wrong. But, God in His great mercy picked me up (again) when I called to Him, and He is helping me to grow in my faith and relationship with Him. People ask me now what changed and how God can do such a thing as He did with me and then make it last and not only last, but grow. I can’t thank Him enough for not leaving me to my own devices! 🙂

    I haven’t read that book yet, but it’s now on the wishlist. 😉

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  • Wow, Amazing you would post this now
    I’ve just been asking myself
    Why am I always fighting?
    Why do I keep caunging in the way I see God?
    If he stays the same then why is he seem better each day?
    Why do I hunger for more I’ve been saved for years don’t I know enough?
    Thanks allot for this post it helped me allot

  • I think that our souls are like a garden, we can tend to them and water them and we will see growth. But we can also for get about them and nothing will happen>

  • Thanks guys!!!
    Your posts are always encouraging and a reminder to keep going!!! It is hard when the world around you is constantly tearing you down, and people are “shoving you” as you try to go up the escalator, causing you to stumble and fall.
    It is so encouraging to know that there are other people out there on fire for God!!!!

    And the thing about our hearts/lives being like a garden Garden, James, that is really neat!
    Also, if we aren’t careful to get weeds as soon as they appear, they grow up to be BIG problems, the longer you turn your back on them the bigger the problems become…. I’ve found that out the hard way in our garden lately. (-:

    Anyway, thanks again for the post!!!!


  • Amazing post! I was just thinking about this today!
    In the past year I feel that yes, I have grown.
    Last year I was kinda turning towards goth, I wore black makeup, nail polish, clothing and I swore ALLOT and began coloring my hair, i hated who I was and I hated my life.
    I listened to violent music and watched bad movies.
    I cursed God allot and I stopped praying all together!
    I didn’t even want to be considered a christian anymore that’s how bad it had gotten!
    I began to dress very inaproperiatly and I was freaking my parents out.
    Me and my mom fought so much I somtimes told myself that I hated her!
    But there always seemed to be a part of me that wanted to live for God, but the bad part of me was so much stronger!
    Then this past May when I read “Do hard things” honestly, I don’t know what happened, but somthing clicked and BAM!
    Everything came to a halt and that part of me that had wanted to get out so bad, was finaly released and my life was changed around just like that!
    I never wear makeup anymore, I pray like, all day and I can’t put my bible down, me and my mom havnt fought in months and I’m dressing more like a young christian woman should be!
    I asked God to forgive my sins and I know He has, but in these past few months, everytime I look back at what I had turned into, I just hate thinking about it, and I get scared and I pray so hard that it won’t happen again!
    So I am so thankful to you guys, Alex and Brett, because honestly, you guys have changed my life and you can never know how much me and my parents thank you for it!


  • Thanks for the great reminder. It certainly is easy to get stuck in a rut (which too often is “default”) and forget not only about my growth and sanctification but also the reason I am growing and becoming more like Christ–for God’s glory. Thanks again.

  • Guys, i’m a first time reader/writer here (i started to read “Do Hard Things” a little while ago) and i must say, I’m glad this type of place exists. I grew up in the church, and that ruined my experience with God. i was so familiar with the Terminology and the goings-on, that i began to analyse it for faults and weaknesses…which led me to believe radicla Chrisatians (and more specifically, rebelutionaries) were making it all up, trying to push an agenda. After an odd, but needed series of event, i took the first steps of praying (actually praying) to God for forgivness, and praying to see change. Within the month, i was re-filled with the Holy spirit (hehe…pentacostal) and i started to look at the church in whole new light.

    What i found was more disturbing than before. Many Christians ( this time, excluding rebelutionaries) WERE putting on airs. They were, in fact, some of the worst victims of lies and deception fro mthe enemy if they were flamboyant or “radical” for God. not only were these people acting like hypocrites, they were RADICAL hypocrites!

    I published a note on facebook, saying i wouldn’t tolerate it anymore, and encouraging my friends to keep me more acountable. somehow, my pastor caght wind of it, and asked me to read it in front of the congregation (public speaking was NOT my thing) While it didn’t effewct many, the people who were most affected were the firey youth! we’ve since then gone about doing what we could in our lives and church to make a difference.

    Now, our Youth pastor is starting a leading and disciplship group to train up young leaders to be “rebelutionaries.” they’re gunna push us, and hold us to a higher standard, but we can’t wait!

    anyway, I’m saying all this because it took us to be at a total standstill to realize what it felt like to be in motion. we had never known what we had until it was gone, and then when we started up again, we found it so desirable in comparison to being stagnant, that we’d never let ourselves go back! this is a great word, and i pray that it is followed by many more!

  • Amazing post guys! It is so encouraging to come to your website and read something that changes my heart, mind, and will. Praise God! I question my growth quite often especially now. I have definitely seen growth. It’s just I know that I could be soooooooo much more sanctified if I just let the Lord have the reigns fully. I will definitely be memorizing some of those verses you guys posted, and I’ll be putting those books on my list of books to read which is now filled with books that were at the chicago conference (THAT WAS AWESOME!!!). Which speaking of that. . . . . .
    BRETT, ALEX, OR ANYONE WHO WOULD KNOW—I would really like to volunteer for the St.Louis 2010 conference if someone could tell me who to get in contact with. (look at the last paragraph on the last comment on the chicago conference post.*the really, really long one* lol)

    Great comment Alesia So many of your brothers and sisters in Christ have been there too. It’s such an encouragement to read peoples stories of growth and testimonies.

    Always and forever in Christ,
    Grace Leigh

  • Wow! I really like Francis Chan’s example of the escalator, it makes so much sense.
    Another great book to read is ‘The 2 Degree Difference’, I am blanking on the author right now. It talks about how all the time, we need to be making little changes in our life. 2 degree shifts 🙂 We always need to be looking around and asking God what we can be doing to improve. Taking it in little steps helps it not to seem so daunting, and definitely is more encouraging! When I am in a mindset that is looking for ways to improve, it makes it seem so much easier. Instead of sitting down and writing a big long list of things I need to work on (Well, that is good too sometimes) anyway, I just take it moment by moment, improving as I go.
    Thank you so much for that wonderful post!

  • Wow! The escalator analogy really made me think. We can say, “I’m going to rest today, I don’t feel like doing hard things today, I don’t feel like serving Jesus with all of my heart today. I won’t do anything bad of course, but I don’t have the energy to do anything really good today.” When we think things like that we suppose ourselves to be standing still, but in truth the escalator is carrying us downwards.

    What does it take to keep going, to keep running the race marked out before us? We can’t stand still, but we can’t decide to just walk either. We MUST keep running. We can’t just get by as a Christian each day, we must put our whole hearts into living each day for the glory of Jesus Christ!

    Lord, give us the strength to RUN for You. For those who have stopped running completely; revive their hearts. For those who are walking and have not realized that this is a RACE and that walking is almost worse than standing still; encourage them, put a fire in their hearts, give them an urgency to run. Amen.

    Thanks guys, this post has been really encouraging!

  • Wonderful post! It’s encouraging to know that great heroes of the faith have felt the same spiritual low that I feel at times. I’ve heard it said that sometimes God brings us through the dry valleys in our spiritual walk because that’s what makes the mountains so much sweeter. If we just lived on the same mountain, we might feel like we could just stay in this good spot, but we wouldn’t move forward to the next new and higher mountain on our journey.

  • everyday Is a new day to praise God, and I’ve learned that throughout the years it is so vital to plan time with Christ, and be real with him. He sees right through us, and we can’t put on any masks even if we want to cover up from our failures, time & time again. The dry seasons are always the hardest, but the compassion Christ has is that of the best lover, and he has the most concern for his children & he is faithful to us, always. The dry seasons hopefully pass & with ripe faithfulnes, and fruit bearing goodness:)
    Thats all I wanted to share..just a thought.
    May God Bless you & you truly choose to love him!

  • AWESOME post — and very convicting. It’s incredibly encouraging to see how God is working in your hearts and lives and also through you when I read the amazing posts you’ve even just recently written. 🙂 Keep running (and since I know, I mean seriously RUNNING) up that escalator, brothers! When it’s loud, and you have to run faster, and people are looking at you weird, saying, “That immature teenager!” — keep running! 😉

    I do have a question, though. This post (and the book ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan) is to be read and used for purposes of testing oneself — am I walking with God, am I growing, am I being faithful to cultivate a love and a passion for God. But say we read this post or the book, then realize that our friends are very lukewarm — living in sin, not reading the Bible, into shopping more than church, etc. We don’t want to criticize them (or make them feel criticized), but we do want to exhort them and tell them there is more. The course of action I would take is to: (1) give them ‘Crazy Love’ as it says things better than I could, (2) attempt to (and pray desperately for help as I seek to) live it out, (3) encourage them about the good things they are doing and to do the things that would benefit them (like reading the Bible daily — to know God through the Psalms or the Gospels and be comforted by Him, led by Him, strengthened by Him in new ways) and (4) if there is sin (like, habitual sin the Bible obviously and strictly forbids — not, like, “Hey, buddy, last Friday you swore,” kind of sin) that they are not repentant about then I try to tell them in love. Of course, this isn’t done, like, all at once — “Step 1, step 2, 3, 4 — you horrible lukewarm “christian,” you aren’t listening to me!” It’s something done prayerfully over time. So. Long way of saying, if we have friends who are living lukewarm lives — how do we encourage them in what we say and how we act, and if they are telling us we are wrong and accusing us of being arrogant or critical or too serious about life and spiritual matters, when do we know it’s time to let go of their friendship, so they won’t succeed in tainting us with their sin or keeping us from passionately pursuing God? If we are growing, and our friends are not (or growing in some ways, but treating us like we’re doing something wrong), what’s your advice to inspire and exhort in a Biblical, loving, encouraging way… but also not be compromised?

  • Wonderful post!

    My dad and I talk about this quite often, actually. I especially loved the example of the escalator.
    I would say I have grown in the past year… but I do go through times when I come to a short “stand still” when I’m distracted or weary. I do completely agree with you, to stop fighting is not to just “take a break” its dangerous and can cause us to backslide. Thanks for the reminder!

    God bless!

  • I don’t know if anyone else has already said this so I’ll say it…I was kinda confused when you said ‘Those who have little care for spiritual growth, and have shown minimal progress over the course of their Christian lives, should seriously question whether their faith is genuine’. In general I think thats true. but I know that I don’t have the fruits of the spirit mastered, nor do I really even have any of them. I don’t have a lot of growth in my spiritual life, but recently I’ve begun fighting to change that, But it’s because I’m a Christian, because my faith is geniune that I am wanting to live with love, faithfullness, kindness, gentleness, self-control etc. if I didn’t have my faith I wouldn’t be sad that I wasn’t showing much spirirtual growth and I probably wouldn’t even know I didn’t! I want to change that fact because I know I should have spiritual growth. I know Satan has always wanted to tell me that I’m not really a Christian and to just give up (which is NOT what you are saying AT ALL! I didn’t mean that!) so, yeah…But however, overall I agree with you entirely. Did that make any sense? If it didn’t, then don’t post this comment! No seriously, don’t if you’re still scratching your heads…I think I’m scratching mine, too! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Camille E.

  • I have been blessed to grow up with a dad and mom who encourage spiritual growth, But I realize that soon I will leave home and I will be on my own, fortunately my mom and dad realize this also and make sure to train me for the time when I will have to take things alone. Guess my point is, parents are the best things we have been given by God to help us with, “the fight up the escalator.”
    So now I better go vacuum. ._.

    In Christ


  • Thank you for this little meditation. After finishing reading “Do Hard Things” on wednesday, i was very encouraged to make a difference and grow in faith, and this has been a boost to what i´ve proposed myself.

    I hope God helps me to be faithful and to keep growing for His Glory!!!!!!!


  • This is a great post, and a very vital part of the believer’s life- moving forward. I was recently in a complacent state, but thank G-d, He has awakened me, and I am now on the road to being permanently on FIRE FOR HIIM!!!!!! At least, that is where I want to be. Thank you for sharing this, it was very encouraging, I will read and think about it more, and I hope to be able to buy and read those books soon.
    To Him be all the glory, Amen!

  • Yep, that’s a good one, it made sense and I have been struggeling with this one lately…I keep feeling like He left our family, where is He? My dad is unemployed and we are having financial troubles…its been hard for me personally, being the 1st born and all…Thanks. I hope He can help me…

  • Thanks for posting this, Alex and Brett!! I have found that for me it is so easy to get very excited about the Christian life/growing/developing my relationship with Christ when I have these spiritual mountaintop experiences– for example, reading your book or being in a charged environment, like a camp or conference, where others are encouraging me. Yet it gets rough when nothing is out of the ordinary, when it seems like there are so many hard things to do and focus on, and so easy to stagnate. Sometimes I feel exactly like I’m riding on that escalator and running my hardest, and still not getting anywhere. So thanks for the encouragement. Great comment, Tabitha! Soli Deo Gloria as we press on in the race together!

  • Sounds like God wanted a bunch of His children to hear this. I’d have to say I’m one of them. This is one of the problems I’ve been wrestling with for a few months now. Unfortunately I’ve never been particularly good at seeing growth in myself, I have a pretty terrible memory, but many of my close friends testify that they are encouraged by the growth they see in me. Many times I find my assurance in the fact that I still desire to fight my sins to more clearly see Christ and glorify Him more with my life. Progress in this is hard for me to see, but the desire is not from me. If God is not the motive, who wants to live their life in strife against their very nature?
    Lately the struggle has been quite intense as God has been asking me to release my grip upon most of my hopes for the future and has asked (again) that I find my security in Him. I think the major reason I struggle is that I’m frequently looking at the escalator and how fast it has been set. Instead God wants me to look up to the top of the escalator where He stands encouraging me to endure and come to Him and the place He has prepared for me.

  • Thanks for the post guys! its helpful but a bit unerving for me. . .
    I don’t want to be at a standstill, but I’m afraid I am. I want to be able to tell GOD when and if (hopefully!) I get to heaven all the things I’ve done for HIM and name all the people I’ve brought to HIM. But I’m to shy to speak up about it. I’ve watched a friend loose faith and coundn’t find the words to try to help that friend. I don’t like the postition I’m in, but I get shakey when people look at me when I’m spreaking (about anything, not just my faith) and I studder and mess everything up, and I can’t stand a big group of people, I get so unnerved. . . I feel like I’m disapointing HIM. Am I?

  • Cierra Jordan: No, you are not disappointing Him!! He understands what you are going through and He will help you move forward. Some of those things you said happened to me also and I too was worried that I was letting God down. But it’s not like that. He knows us more than we know ourselves and He sees what is in your heart. So, don’t give up! Keep praying and keep trying to talk to others about Him and you’ll see how He will help you overcome all these things in His perfect time. Then, you will be able to help others in your situation and God will be glorified. Hope that helped!

  • This was an AWESOME post!!! I needed to read that! There are SO many times when i go through dry spells, and I feel like God has abandoned me, but I know in my heart that’s not true. There are SO many times when my heart is numb and I just can’t seem to feel the burdens and emotions I should be able to feel, and I have a hard time caring about God and I can’t seem to hear Him speak to me. But last night, I guess you could say I “re-discovered” God–meaning I just realized how close He really is, and even though I’m a terrible person and keep being defeated by “besetting sins”, He is still SO ready to forgive me and He still allows me to hear Him speak to me, even though I don’t deserve any of that in the least.

  • I also want to say how encouraged I was by one of the other comments. Alesia, I am SO happy for you! PRAISE GOD AND TO HIM ALONE BE THE GLORY!! I am praying for quite a few people with similar situations as what you had. They aren’t living for God, and they know it and are miserable. For the past year, I’ve been begging God on their behalf, and sometimes it gets discouraging because I don’t see any improvement. Sometimes I get discouraged, and I just go numb, I can’t feel the burden anymore; I feel burnt out. But then God sends me encouragement, or some way to refresh me. Alesia, He has used you to give me encouragement to keep on praying for my friends. He changed you, and He can change them too! He is all-powerful!
    Anyone that’s reading this, I have a prayer request that I’ve wanted to ask rebelutionaries to pray for for a long time, but God never gave me the opportunity until now. My friend Tyler is having a lot of problems (spiritual and otherwise), and needs a lot of prayer. I can’t give you details because they’re personal, but if you would pray for him, you have no idea how much that would mean to me!
    God bless.

  • I am so glad I stumbled upon this today. Many questions I have been asking myself were answered, and I am encouraged. There was recently a time in which I convinced myself that God had given up on me, and was just weary of putting up with my complacency. I recently attended a DHT conference, and although life changes don’t happen overnight, I know that God did something in my heart…something I had been longing for, for two years. I believe with all my heart that He has once again delivered me out of the miry clay that I was bound and prone to, and has set me on a fresh course that I am thrilled to run!

    Thanks for the book suggestions!!


  • I think that backslips will always happen, no matter what because we’re human. Therefore, if we make no progress forward, we’ll still be going backward. You may think it’s just dryness, or stagnation or “stability,” but if you have stopped fighting, that is still a serious sign of a backslip. All the same, the constant effort to go towards God does automatically move you forward.

    Think of it like Chinese Checkers. If you got your pieces to the center of the board, then decide not to move anymore. You aren’t technically moving backward, but for every move you forfeit, the Enemy has a chance to move farther on you “side of the board,” meaning your life. Eventually, it won’t matter where your superficial pieces are on the board, because the Enemy has already won the game, and has found a place in your life.

    Furthermore, I don’t really think it matters what you’re reading to help you through spiritual dryness, just so long as you are moving. I don’t necessarily read books that are specifically for seasons of spiritual dryness, because I have found that any orthdox book can move one forward with one’s spiritual life.

  • Mrs. White, did you go to a co-op in Washinton, sequim?
    If so, I remember you, nice to have you on…:)

  • The link you had had the eighth post at the top. If you scroll down on the page, the first post is all the way at the bottom. I know the link was correct, I was just questioning the “first comment” statement.

  • sister serving God:
    I will for sure be praying for Tyler, I can proubably really relate to their situation, and they will be in my prayers everyday! =)

    I am glad that my story gave you encouragement, that’s what I was hoping would come out of it!

    God Bless!

  • Thank you. Very encouraging, stirring, and thought-provoking article (very true also). God Bless.

    ~Cherry Ann

  • Thank you, Brett and Alex, for posting this! I have been a Christian since I was very little, but it wasn’t until the beginning of my highschool years that I came to understand the full implications of Christ’s love for me-and it has changed my life! It has been a long journey from where I was, with many pitfalls along the way, but God is faithful. I recently started reading Do Hard Things and have found it both encouraging and challenging. This post was just what I needed today!

    I am in prayer for you guys and your ministry.
    In Christ’s love,
    Kimberly 🙂

  • This was really great!! Just what I needed to hear!!! 😀
    ♦Kimberly, I went (and am going) through the same exact thing. Just last night I was talking to God, telling Him (not like He didn’t already know, but confession is the realization of wrong- doing) that I hadn’t been very faithful in talking to Him. Up until now I was always an on and off Christian. I was a faithful follower when I needed help or when I had had a spiritual revelation, but the fire just kept going out. I know that most (ok, all) of the problems that I have right now are directly related to this.
    ♦This article was like a wake- up call. I don’t want to be just writing these words. I want to be DOING them. For me, it’s a little scary. But as I wrote once speaking of hard challenges and opportunites-…. but we have to rise to the challenge. RISE to it. It’s not coming to us. We have to stand up, on God’s promises, and grab hold. Some of us may have to jump. None of us will ever be perfect. We could try our whole lives, but no matter how hard we try, we can never be perfect. Only when we set foot in Heaven, and only then, will we be without flaw. We can, however, get as close to it as we can, for God, for ourselves, and for the benefit of others. It’s the challenge of a lifetime that will last a lifetime.-
    ♦So I think I need to take my own words and put them in to practice. God is a LIVING God, and I want to live for Him. I just have to keep fighting. Right now, I’ll have to fight tooth and nail, but, as I look into the future, it will all be worth it in the end.
    Thanks again, Alex and Brett, for another thought provoking article.
    ~Kay Morris♫

  • Alesia, I just read your comment. I have to say I’m very happy for you. Alesia, stories like yours need to be told. It’s a testimony of the providence of God. I have a friend who is starting to go wayward and it’s really concerning myself and some other friends. It’s the last thing we want to see happen to her. I’m praying for her, and I’d be happy to add a few words of thanks and blessing at what’s happened for you. I hope you have a wonderful day.
    ~Kay Morris♫
    P.S. sister serving God, I’ll pray for Tyler.

  • Very strong post you guys. I felt encouraged when I read…
    “The difference between mature and immature believers is not the absence of spiritual valleys, but the refusal to remain at a standstill.”

  • Thanks for this reminder! It’s so easy to become content with past accomplishments or “spiritual highs” as you put it. But in the dry spells I can get so discouraged, I needed the encouragement to perservere!

  • Thank you so much Sarah L. You have no idea how much that helped me, thank you from the botton of my heart!!! 🙂

  • Kay Morris:

    Thank you, I am very happy for how God has turned my life around.
    Many times my life had gotten so bad I just wanted my life to end, no matter how that had to be done!
    I am so thankful God pulled me back before I did somthing totaly stupid!

    I’ll be praying for your friend too Kay Morris!

    God Bless!
    Alesia <3

  • Let me add that we should not only be growing in our own relationship with Christ, but we should be sharing the truth, witnessing and telling others about Him, and living as a child of God should.

    “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
    I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.
    If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” –John 15:4-6 (NKJV)

    When we decide to live for Christ, we must rely on HIS strength and power, and give God the glory when we do progress and “bear fruit”.

    To God alone be the glory!!!!

  • CIERRA JORDAN: Sweetheart – When you get to heaven, it will not be because of how many people you witnessed to or how many “hard things” you did for the Lord. It will be because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice for you. Hebrews 10:14 says “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” It is very important that we strive for holiness and I agree with everything in Alex and Brett’s post, but I am worried that some of you are taking away the wrong idea. “It is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” -Philippians 2:13. Do not be discouraged, but rejoice in the perfect work of your perfect Savior, whose power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)! I would encourage you to read the book of Hebrews and marvel at the PERFECT work of our Savior as great high priest. Rejoice in the Lord!

  • Carrie G: Thank you very much!! The fact that my post got any attention at all makes me feel much better!! Maybe I am getting too caught up trying to do hard thing for HIM, I now get that little things count and can make a big diffrence. Thank you again!!! And to Sarah L. also, for her post for me, GOD bless you both!!!!! 🙂

  • Thanks for the reminder guys! Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a spiritual ditch. We have to remember that we can never know it all. Because if we talk ourselves into believing that we know everything there is to know, we’ll stop learning and growing. Thanks guys!

    Be Blessed & Be a Blessing,

  • Wow, great discussion all around.

    Alesia: your story is of great encouragement to me. Since I haven’t personally witnessed God turning someone’s life around I find myself doubting that will do it in someone’s life that I want to witness to or pray for. Your story helps to combat that doubt that the devil attacks me with.

    In Christ,


  • Phillip K:
    Untill God turned my life around, I had never witnessed Him turning anyone’s life around either.
    I also doubted that He was even capible of it, yet, look at me now =)


  • Phillip K,
    That is exactly how I feel sometimes. But this past year has been a MAJOR learning experience for me, and I have seen many friends do wrong and turn away from God. I am still praying for most of them, such as Tyler. But I have seen God do AMAZING things in a couple of my friends’ lives, that I would call a miracle! My best friend turned away from God at the end of last year and made some bad decisions. Before all this happened, she had planned to go to Bible college, but after she started living for herself, she changed her plans, and we all thought that because of the situation and because she didn’t want to go to Bible college where God could help her get straight, she was nearly a lost cause. We wouldn’t say it…but i think deep down, we all thought it a time or two. But this May (probably around the same time God got a hold of Alesia), she came to my graduation, went to our church 2 days later, and GOD GOT A HOLD OF HER HEART! When she told me she had gotten right with God that night, I cried with excitement and gratefullness that God REALLY HAD heard my prayers and had ANSWERED! That was one of the most awesome moments of my life! What I had been praying for all year–God answered THEN! I also have another friend that I had considered a lost cause until a few weeks ago. God allowed something to happen to wake her up, and a couple weeks after, we went to teen church camp, where God REALLY got a hold of her! Now she is well on her way to serving God with all her heart, soul, and mind! So, Phillip, God REALLY DOES work in people’s lives, and He REALLY DOES answer prayer. The verse that has really sustained me throughout this whole year is 1 John 5:14-16 “And this is the CONFIDENCE that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” We can have CONFIDENCE that He hears us and will answer us! There is no promise that our friends will get right…after all, it is still their choice, no matter what God does. We all have a free will. But we CAN rest assured that God DOES hear us, and will answer every prayer in HIS time. Sometimes, we have to wait for the answer, but He always answers. And God actually tells us to pray for those who are in sin, and says that praying for them is a way to give life. Our prayers for our friends are not in vain. Alesia is one of many proofs of this :-)!
    I encourage you to go to Bruce Frye used to be a country singer, lost and “trapped in a “world of hate and fame” before he was saved. His brother and many, many others prayed for him for 21 years before he finally came to Christ! Now, he and his family travel around to many places, singing bluegrass music and telling how God changes “lost causes” like himself. His story is SOOO inspiring!!! My brother actually got saved after hearing it!
    I also recommend This is the website of a teen home in SC, where God has truly changed many lives.
    God bless!

  • This is a very true post, and I like it 🙂
    This summer, my mom and I took a road trip from our hometown of Cleveland all the way to Texas. We brought along my friend Emily to visit my grandmother down south.
    My grandma lives in a small town called Booker, and it’s where my mom and her sisters grew up, so Em and I were excited to visit. I had been there many times when I was younger, but I knew that having a friend with me would make it more enjoyable. At first, we thought we weren’t going to have anything to but walk up Main Street and talk or go swimming. Little did we know, God had BIG plans in store for us.
    My mom caught up with her old best friend from high school, Mabel, and she lived in the neighboring town, Perryton. We visited her house, met her son Zach and his friend Josh. Emily, Zach, Josh and I all became great friends. We went to their youth group the first Wednesday we were there, and God opened my eyes and my heart to new things that I had never experienced before. I grew a little bit that very night, but it was nothing compared to the transformation that took place in both Emily and me the next Wednesday.
    I was invited to sing with their worship team that night, because everyone found out that I had a voice from my mom. We started out the night by playing a really fun game and that led into the sermon. Then, before I knew it, I was on stage, singing to God. It was the first time that I had actually closed my eyes while singing in front of people. Before, I always used to think that it was more of a performance than a leading. Let’s just say, I had a growth spurt in those couple hours.
    After worship, everyone gathered around Emily and I and prayed for safe arrival back home to Cleveland. I was balling, and Emily (who never cries) was too. We went to sit in the back, and that’s when Josh came to pray with us too. Miraculously, and only by God’s doing, Josh prayed over each of us individually and described each of our needs and feelings. I don’t ever remember telling him any of that, and I knew it was God.

    We came back home from Texas, and I was renewed! My life has been so much easier lately, and I hardly remember anything from before this summer. I began my own prayer journal, prayer wall, and read my Bible a LOT more.
    Take it from me, I always used to think that it would take me years to be in the same position as some other people spiritually. But, it happened so quickly!
    I just finished your book tonight, and I want to thank you for everything you’ve inspired me to do. I am going to use my music to glorify others, and God has opened some pretty big doors that might not have been opened without that transformation! 🙂

  • Hey,
    I am reading your book right now and I just wanted to say thank you. Your book has really helped me to “Do Hard Things” and resist worldly temptations. “Do Hard Things” is kinda like a life motto for me right now. When I am at school and I don’t feel like doing my work, I just think to myself “Do Hard Things” and it helps me. Whenever I have a chance to submit to worldly things, I remember your book and I can resist these temptations. I sincerely want to say thanks!
    Gordon D.

  • We are always to be growing in the Lord, we are to always WANT to cont. to grow in the Lord so we can love Him more and so that we can have the mind of Christ. We are told in the Bible to Meditate on the Bible day and night. We are to Love the Lord our God with all our heart and mind.. (I can’t remember the references.)
    We are to Love the Lord w/ all we have! The problem today is that most people don’t take that serious any more. Today good enough is well- good enough.. Which is extremely sad!!

  • Hi,
    Can you please delete the comment I just submitted? I looked at it later and realized that there were a few things that I didn’t want posted in the public. I’m so sorry. Thank you!


  • I simply must read those books! Thanks for posting this because my walk with Christ has been shaky, and it’s been really hard to find joy in God. I need to evaluate my faith and keep moving foward. I do NOT want to be the”the christian who is always at a standstill.”

  • Oh, thank you so much for posting this!! My heart was greatly encouraged. I know, that I wouldn’t be able to get through “dry spells” without the help of other brothers and sisters in the Lord. I don’t know how many times a friend has called and wanted to pray with me, just when I needed it! When we go through these dry spells, it is or could be caused by sin; most times for me it is sin that causes this. The spirit is “greived away” . When God convicts us of the state we have been in, we cry out to Him to forgive us for “pushing” Him away. Then He is closer to us, than ever before! I can definately say though that right now, I am closer to God than I ever have been. Praise the name of the Lord forever!:)

  • I am currently reading your book “The Rebelution” and have been truly inspired to step out of my comfort zone in every day life! Coming to your website and finding even more books that might help me continue to grow in my walk was awesome!! I am always looking for ways to strengthen my relationship with the Lord, especially now as I begin my journey into college life. Thank you sooo much for this post! It was really encouraging and it inspired me… as your book is doing… to continue to aim higher and live my life in such a way that I may glorify my Father in heaven with everything I say and do! God bless you both! Your story and perseverance is truly amazing and ultimately inspiring!

  • You guys, this is amazing.
    Here’s a quick testimony.
    Within the next week and a half I’m speaking at my church youth service and my [public] school’s bible club. I have really been seeking God for a passage to speak on. Thurday night I got home from work and I read 2 Peter 1 and it struck me in a serious way. Right after reading it, my dad told me to go to sleep. In school the next day I remembered the passage me but I had no idea what it was about or where it was. A friend I had recently shared Jesus with told me that in one of her classes God spoke to her saying that I was to speak about faith. When I got home I opened up directly to 2 Peter and the title was “Growth in the Faith.” This morning when I came on the blog, I saw this.

    Thank you for being obedient to God.

  • “If you are fighting through a dry spell” is the situation that i am right now.In the past weeks, I’ve been reading the book and half through chapter 7.I see myself in “five kinds of hard no.5”. I still cant perfect it and as I encountered a scenario, I failed. Hopefully I could work my way through on the following days to come. Someday, I will prove to God that I can make him happy. Ill fight over this very,very,dry spell.

    One more thing, I thank God that even if I don’t read books…I read the book…and Im proud to say I am changing.No doubt its a life changing experiences as read it through.

  • Thank you guys so much! I really needed this. I’ve been so discouraged lately, and I had given up fighting. But this post, and everyone’s comments have given me the push I needed. I’m going to start working to being more like Christ.
    Oh, and I’m new to the blog. I love the atmosphere and how everyone seems so genuine. See, besides my Mom I don’t know any Christians. That makes it hard sometimes, but you guys are so real and everything. It’s awesome.

  • My church did a bible study on his book Crazy Love… SO GOOD! thanks for writing this! It helps me remeber what I learned! I also new to the blog and love it! Keep it up!

  • thank y0u s0 much f0r posting this..yeah, i’ve been fighting way to0 l0ng that s0metimes i get s0 tired of feeling anything at all. there were times y0u pray and pray s0 hard, but God just seem silent..yet ab0ve it all, i believe that circumstances like that help us gr0w spiritually and in our understanding of what God really is…:)

    God bless everyone!

  • Well guys, I am just gonna say this really challenged me. I think it is interesting I saw this today, because a lot of this day has been a big battle against discouragement and self-reliance. I eventually just told God ” Lord I cannot make my life what it should be, take me ,I beg, make my life what it should be.” So basically I just made one big commitment to not worry about it and let God handle it. Does this sound right to you guys? If not let me know.

    I do know I have been growing, but for the past year I have been going through a REALLY tough time. I have been doubting God. I have doubted whether God exists, I have doubted whether the Bible is true, and even the truth in Jesus dying for my sins and rising again! Before this year, I believed all of this one-hundred percent, and I was growing and had a desire to grow. Then, suddenly a thought came to me, WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THIS? HOW DO YOU KNOW ITS TRUE? It has been downhill since then. I want to believe! I want to GROW! But does this mean I am not saved? Thats all. Please pray for me guys. I really need it, and if there is any input you can give me on this situation tellme ,please!

  • Brandon S,
    You’re in my prayers as well.
    Please choose to believe God. He will get you through this. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

  • Brandon- i’m praying for you. I was having a lot of trouble this past year, and struggling a lot. I started asking some of the same questions as you. I’m praying that God will give you answers somehow. As for being saved, just because you aren’t seeing growth doesn’t mean you aren’t saved. Everyone has times when they aren’t growing. Sometimes, too, you don’t notice the growth. Like a little kid growing taller. They grow little by little, and one day you suddenly notice they’re an inch and a half taller. If you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart, and confessed that you’ve sinned and need Him, He’s there.

  • I, like many of you on here, too, have recently gotten out of a dry spell. In fact, I’m probably about three days out of my dry spell.

    You see, I’ve struggled with depression for many, many years. I would ask God to make it better, and He would. But a few months later, the depression came back. It wasn’t until recently I discovered the problem. About three months ago, my church split up. My youth pastor(who was the only reason I really went to that church) left, so I left because I knew I wouldn’t get anything out that church anymore. Until about two weeks ago, I was trying out churches. For about two months, I just skipped completly. When that happened, I got really depressed, more depressed than ever before. I started hating myself more and more every single day. I didn’t know what to do. I knew that I should go to God, but it just seemed that He was taking too long to show up. I started burning myself with matches. Then, I though I could get better, so I threw away the matches. I wasn’t correct. I then started cutting myself. I didn’t want to be in my life, I didn’t want to be me; I hated me. I started taking Oxycodone and Methedone to get high. Then I started starving myself. One night, I got my mom’s gun(We’re big into hunting). I sat there beside the rifle for probably an hour, then I started to text my friends, telling them everything, so incase I did, they would know why. But talking about it made it better. I was still doing what I was doing, but hope had suddenly re-entered the picture; people actually cared. Needless to say, since I was appeared to be the most Godliest student in my grade, my friends were shocked. They had no idea that I felt this way. I was a good actress.

    I finally found a church to go to, and you know what, it was my old youth pastor’s new church and was the youth pastor there, too. My friends made me tell him my first Wednesday(Wednesday, October 7), which was his first, too. We talked about it and I promised I wouldn’t cut or get high anymore and that I would start eating again.

    That Thursday was great! I was happier than I’d ever been, but then I started having withdrawels(I’d been taking at least pills a day) and it just seemed like everyone was attacking me, so I relapsed and started the pills again.

    This past Wednesday, I went to church and my youth pastor asked how I was doing. I lied about the pills, but I did tell him that I was still really depressed and that I couldn’t stop crying. He said that he understood, that he’d gotten in deep depression once, too, and knew exactly how hard it is to get out. He told me that there was only one who could help me, God.

    So the service progressed and then came to a close and we had an altar call. I went down because I was feeling guilty. I went back to my seat, and we had the closing prayer. My asociate(I don’t know how to spell that) pastor came up and told us to keep our head’s bowed and eyes closed because God just layed something on his heart.

    He said, “I’m addressing all the ladies in the room. God just layed this on my heart that there is a girl in here who has been hurting herself. She’s been struggling with pills. She has had a very hard time seeing herself as beautiful and pretty. She can’t see herself the way God sees her, the way He made her. She feels like every problem in her family and with her parents is her fault. She hates herself.”

    I started freaking out crying. he was describing me. It was just amazing how God had told him and he said everything I was feeling. He then said, addressing the whole youth group, that if any of us wanted, we could go to the altar and someone would pray with us. I went down and this lady, who I barely knew, came down. She asked me if I wanted to talk. I told her that I had already talked to my youth pastor about it, but that the temptation to cut and to take pills was there. I told her why I took the pills. She then told me that she used to struggle with pills and is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

    I’m now nine days without cutting and three days without pills. My whole point to this story is that, sure, if my church hadn’t split and I hadn’t gotten out of church, I probably wouldn’t have gone through this dry spell I went through. But if that split hadn’t happened, I would still be living a mediocre Christian life. I assumed that I was strong in my faith and nothing could shake me when I was going to my first church, but the split and this whole thing proves that I wasn’t as strong as I thought. I got out of church for three months, and all this stranspired. But I’ll never again be lukewarm. I’ll never again be depressed because I’ve truly given it over to God and am trusting Him to do away with it. And this also proves that God places people and events in our life for a reason. I’m so thankful to God for all of this, even my scars.

    I look at my scars as war scars. They are memories of the fight that I had to go through to get where I am today and encouragers to get me where I need to be.

    I’ll admit that today, I saw a baby pin on a friend of mine’s binder(she decorates her binder with them). When I saw it, my arms started itching for it; itching to use it. But I didn’t do it. I was close though. When I saw it, I wanted to flee back to the pills and the knives. But I’m not. I go to hang out with my middle school choir director(Who I’ve always been close with for four years and hang out with on a regular basis; He doesn’t know anything, just that I need prayer). Just being around a Godly man took away the urges.

    So, while I’m doing well now, keep me in your prayers, that I continue to do well and don’t ever begin to harm myself or take pill again. Thanks.

  • Spiritual and personal growth have been on my agenda since truly trying to follow jesus, i was unfortunately greatly discouraged in a church when i had experienced a great mountian top high and wanted to share this with other christians, only to have a barrage of discourging interactions. It is right we cannot stand still, sometimes though it is hard to know what is moving foward and what is moving backward when even christian leaders do not agree, for us who are looking to please God and serve him look to those who (are spiritually mature) to guide us. I do however think that i have seen what i believe is little spiritual growth in the past few years and desire to be close to God in a fresh new way. I have been told and believe that God is most glorified when we are best pleased with him. and i suppose that this correlates with the point of fighting to praise God which will help us see anew his wonderful love for us. thank you

  • I will pray for you Brandon! I know this is hard but keep your chin up and keep moving foward. You are saved God knows what you are going through. Never be afraid to come to God with your doubts He will come through. I pray that you find peace and that God uses this to grow your faith in Him. I also pray that you come to Him with what you are struggling with and that you find strength and shelter and answers to your most pressing questions.

  • Brandon S.,
    Whenever you may have doubts . . .

    “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world . . .”
    [psalm 19]

    There IS a God . . . And he loves you!
    Be persistent in your prayers,
    ~ Jessica

  • Wow…This is just what I have been needing all along… I just moved across the country a few years ago, and, having never moved before, I cannot tell you how exactly how much it hurt me inside to be taken from my friends, my family, the only place I’ve ever known my whole life. It’s been hard on the rest of my family too.
    Anyway, I’m living in a new town, and my family joined a Christian homeschooling group. But since we live in such a big, crazy city, I have a very hard time getting to see my new friends very often, they all live too far away. Since I’m homeschooled, I don’t have the luxury of seeing my friends every day of the week, like teens who go to school. Recently I’ve been feeling all alone. I feel like i’m the only one in my homeschooling group who really loves Jesus, everyone else in my Christian group seems like they’re obsessed with Twilight and vampires and such. It’s such a blessing to me to know that there are other like-minded Christians who like me. Thank you =)

  • Becky, I know exactly what you are going through with not feeling like you know any one who is like minded, and you will especially find that in homeschool groups. I moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone, joined a homeschool group and didn’t feel like anyone really wanted to talk about Jesus! There is nothing like having a friend or group of friends who are like-minded in the way you believe. If you ever want to talk about anything, I’d love to hear from you!
    [email protected]

  • Becky,
    I know exactly what you’re feeling! I started college this semester, but my entire senior year of high school, I felt like I had no real friends. I had one friend that was like me, and pretty much my family and God were my only other friends. Everyone else didn’t really want to talk about God, and it REALLY bugged me that they were all so obsessed with things like Twilight, guys/girls, and generally things that they shouldn’t be obsessed with. But i found that God is enough. It hurt not to have many real friends in my life. It really did! The person that had been my best friend all through middle school and high school had fallen away from God and didn’t hang out with me much anymore, and I felt abandoned, and i was watching so many more of my Christian friends and acquaintances make wrong choices and focus on the wrong things, and I just felt so alone at times. But the few people He gave me (such as my family, my one real friend, and the things God did in my life, were more than enough to sustain me. There were many times I cried so hard I felt I couldn’t cry any harder b/c my heart was about to break. I would plead and cry out to God on behalf of my friends. I would spend time worshiping God for what He had done in my life (He was doing A LOT! Even though things were going bad, He was there with me the whole time!) and just how great He is. I look back on that time, and even though it was the worst year as far as my friends go, I think I’ll always remember it as the best time of my life, b/c I got SO much closer to God b/c of what I was going through at the time. Hang in there. God will help you. “Even in the valley, God is good.” :-). I’ll be praying for you, Becky.

  • This was excellent guys! I really want to read the book now! I really appreciate all you had to share with us and the challenge to continue growing in the Lord and not to become stagnant. I will continue to apply this to my life and seek to grow closer to him daily! God bless!

  • Jessica,

    Thanks for the verse. I think I will memorize that and meditate on it. That will be a help.

    Thank you! 🙂

  • The escalator analogy is powerful. Thanks for posting – I’d love to read these books. (So many of them… so little time!)

  • I feel like I’m a good example of being in a dry spell. I have so many interests and passions that I just can’t seem to sort through. I’m impatiently waiting for God’s big sign/plan but maybe I’m just missing it.

  • @ Jordan and SisterservingGod,
    Thank you for the prayers. I felt like crying when I read your posts, to me it’s amazing to know that there are people out there, even if they don’t know you, who take the time to tell you it’s going to be ok. That really means a lot to me. Like I said, my whole family is going through a valley of testing right now. But God is stronger. Thank you, everyone, for showing me that.

  • This is such a great boost of encouragement. I have been fighting, gone through dry spells and given up. For a great time on my life I was standing still, so I was going backwards. For about the past one and a half years I have fought and I’m still fighting. It’s very tough. Just wanted to thank you guys for all the encouragement you have given me through this post and many more. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Brett and Alex —

    Thank you so much for allowing the Lord to use you in this powerful way of exhorting and encouraging young people to give their all for Christ. This last article really made me think about where I am in my spiritual life and where I truly know I need and want to be. I am planning on getting those two books you mentioned; I really have been struggling in the area of finding joy in making time to spend with God after my daily devotions and a huge day. And yet, the funny thing is, once I am doing it, I really can find the joy of spending more time with him! This has really hit me lately: that the Creator of the universe and designer of life made ME for his own pleasure, that I might glorify Him with my life. It is amazing and so wonderful! Thanks again for all you do. God bless you both.

  • Jessica —

    I was moved after reading your testimony. May God grant you strength in Himself to keep you from these things. I will be lifting you up to the Father in my prayers.

    “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is the Lord; and worship thou him.” Psalms 45:11

    “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.” Psalms 45:13

    Under the Mercy,

  • Hi. I just found out about your website after my sister told me about you guys. I really learned a lot from your DO HARD THINGS book. Haven’t read the book, but wishing for it!:)

  • Becky-

    I have been going through the same thing for 5 years. Me and my family relocated and it’s been rough ever since. I’m the oldest of 5 children, homeschooled, very conservative, and I’ve always been the wierd one (never wearing jeans on sunday morning, don’t listen to the jonas brothers, never seen high school musical, etc. etc.). Needless to say, I’ve had a very hard time making friends and most people I’ve meet are more into pop culture than a real relationship with God. But in the midst of my darkest tear filled hours God was there. Once, when I was at my worst, I was praying and felt like God said “I have somone so special planned for you to meet! She will be everything you ever thought was possible for a friendship and more. Trust me!” God was right. It’s a God thing. Three years ago, when I had given up and had resolved to live the rest of my life in obscurity, I took a speech class. I met several people there and learned to come out of the shell I had created. Later that year I was in a speech tournament and I met my best friend there. We started talking and we haven’t stopped since! But other than her I’ve had only one other special friend, and she just moved. My best friend is graduating this year though (She wants to go to Patrick Henry!), so I’m looking for friends. But one thing I’ve learned, It’s when everyone else is farthest away that God gets the closest. During that worst time, I got VERY close to God. It has changed the way I look at people and the my relationship with Hin forever.

    Soli Deo Gloria!


  • Spiritual growth, as I’ve learned in my life, doesn’t always come easy. I spent a lot of my high school career going through ups and downs. I loved the ups, but I hated the downs. By the end of the year I was right back where I started. I got so tired of being the same person every single year! I asked God to reveal a new weight of glory in my life. I remember telling Him I wanted to really know who He was. I guess you could say that my New Year’s resolution was to grow without “backsliding.”

    So, I began to pray and read God’s word much more frequently. One day I came across a verse that really encouraged me to press forward through the downs. In 2 Corinthians chapter 4 Paul writes of his struggle. He explains how he is just a clay jar able to hold the glory of God (verse 7). He continues to say that it is God working in us that allows us to press on although badly hurt. At the end of the chapter he says something that really impacted my life. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

    I reflected and noticed that I always wanted growth without struggle. But what I realized while reading that verse was that growth is the product of troubles. I had to go through some downs and learn to hold strong. Pressure prepared me for the Glory that was to come. In Romans 8 verse 18 Paul writes, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” In other words, what you’re going through now will never compare to what God has for your future. Don’t think of struggles as a complete disaster, but as a chance for genuine growth.

    Think like a track runner. During practice they sometimes train with weights tied to their wrists and ankles. After a few hard laps with the weights on they take them off, and feeling lighter they are able to run much faster. If God puts us through the weight of struggle now, he prepares and stretches our spiritual muscles for Glory later. Remember what Paul wrote, our troubles are light and momentary and achieve for us an eternal glory. Think of them as prep for the race. While we have the weights on it hurts, but in the struggle we grow the muscle to run faster, or achieve more. Be encouraged and stay strong, for God is making us grow through the hard times.

  • The post above really encouraged me to press on. I sometimes have the same attitude of wanting growth without struggle. You really clarified many questions that had been spinning in my mind. I really have wanted growth, but, at times, I really have not worked for it. God definitely wanted me to see this, because I have really been wondering today why I have not grown a lot. Here is my answer, and God’s exhortation. Indeed, let us press on!

  • Wow, the question hit me like a ten ton truck, am I growing? I have been haunted this year by missed opportunities to step out, stand out, and let Christ shine in my life. God has been saying, do you trust me? And I have been coming up with ways to justify not doing. Being passive, doubting, and not saying or doing the hard thing has lead me down a road of compromise and anguish and destruction and poverty. You’ve got to let Christ shine in your life and fight with all of you got to prevent yourself from diming that light with complacency.

  • Thank you for posting this, guys. I guess I get really discouraged sometimes because…I feel like somethings the matter with me. I know I’m saved…I know it. But I keep doing the same sins over and over again, and I think I repented, but I keep doing it again! I know I cant grow if I don’t overcome, but how DO I overcome? I know I cant do it by myself, but why isn’t God doing anything? You’d think he’d be fed up with me by now.

  • Randi,
    That is exactly the same way I feel! I keep repenting of my sins, but just do the same thing over again the next day. I try to walk in the Spirit, and then just get lazy the next day and walk in the flesh again. I’m asking God what I’m supposed to be doing, and I think I’m finally beginning to get the answers (PTL!). Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” In order to live the
    Christian life, we have to put forth effort. So many times, we want the Christian walk, but putting forth the effort, but it doesn’t work that way. We have get desperate enough to knock and seek until God answers us. If we aren’t reading the Bible all the time, we aren’t going to be able to serve God, or overcome our sins, because Bible reading and prayer is the life-blood of the Christian life. I think that’s what my problem is. I have a hard time finding time to read my Bible, and it’s hard for me to pray when i haven’t read my Bible. So, in doing that, i get away from God. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Repent, and ask God to help you. He will.

  • Thanks SisterservingGod. I liked how you said we have to be “desperate enough”. Maybe God’s just waiting me to be desperate enough till I…stop trying to do it on my own. Its kinda confusing because I know I cant do it without God, but that dosn’t mean I sit back and let him do all the work. I have to be working to make myself better too, even if he’s the only one who can really change my heart. My heart dosn’t want to change by itself. Sometimes I don’t even want to change, its more like I want to change that I don’t want to change. Thank God its not that I don’t care…its driving me crazy!!! But sometimes I just…don’t know where to begin. Thanks, SisterservingGod, I’m gonna do a way better job reading my Bible this week and ask God for help… AGAIN.

  • Wow, what a conviction!!! Thank you for posting this.

    This year i have seen definite growth, mainly in trusting the Lord with my family and friends, in relationships, and in my own life. In April we found out my younger sister has epilepsy, and she’s had to have many tests and doctors visits to see what was causing her seizures. I had such a hard time getting over the fact that my sister was having to go through this, but i realized that He is in control, and not trusting Him with everything will just make our lives harder. Last month my grandfather was diagnosed with stage four cancer. The grief was at time unbearable, but when my grandfather himself said that he trusts the Lord, and that he is at peace, i realized that i needed to do the same. What joy and peace comes from trusting Him! So, trusting in Him has been my main growing point.

  • I have absolutely seen a change in myself just from over the year. I started out the year very dependent on the world’s opinion of me and I needed to aspire to society’s expectations of me as a teenager. I had goals and dreams, but I really didn’t love myself. I had a non-Christian boyfriend and I was very dependent on him and because of that, I always criticized myself and I think I lost who I truly was. After our breakup in June 2009, I decided to be baptized and that marked the point in my life where I realized how much God loves me and how much I love Him in return. By witnessing God’s love, I’ve learned to look to Him instead of this world. I learned that all I can get out of life on earth if I try to please society is pain. But by turning to God’s love, I found myself and I learned to love myself because God can love me. So I think 2009 marks the point in my life where I not only gave myself over to God, but I found myself again.

  • I am having a hard time with my dad. He told me that he didn’t believe in the New Testament. What should I do?

  • I am having a hard time with my dad. He told me that he didn’t believe in the New Testament. What should I do to help him?

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →