Any life worth living involves encountering difficulties, accepting the challenges, and working in earnest to overcome them. Growth requires us to push our boundaries, press against the edges of our capabilities, and do more with what we have. Learning, being a type of growth, involves accepting that we don’t know something, and seeking out knowledge to increase our understanding. This principle of growth applies in every aspect of our lives. Spiritual growth requires that we continually ask, seek, and knock. Fulfilling our individual purpose in life requires that we find the gaps that prevent us from achieving our goals, and do the uncomfortable work to fill those gaps. A full life is only possible when we invite God in and ask for His help in guiding our growth. When we actively bring God into our life, He is willing to support our growth by coaching us through our challenges.
Our relationship with God involves pursuing our divinely ordained purpose in life (compare Romans 8:28). It is our responsibility to search out what that purpose is, and begin to do the work required to fulfill that purpose. But that work must involve the guidance from God. “A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). When we actively involve God in guiding our direction, our plans have a much better probability of succeeding! Undoubtedly, we will encounter difficulties along the way when we pursue our chosen endeavors, but those difficulties serve a purpose. If we genuinely seek the counsel of God in prayer, faithfully step out to take action to achieve our goals, we can rest assured that any difficulty or trial set before us will help us to grow. And growth is necessary if we want to make progress in life. When God is our coach, He will push us to fulfill the potential that He sees in us.
With this in mind, we ought to ask ourselves what our attitude is when we encounter difficulties. Do we complain? Do we get discouraged? Do we begin to doubt or lose faith? Obviously, these kinds of responses are counterproductive when we are trying to achieve our goals and fulfill our purpose. If we consider that God, as our coach, guides us through all of our challenges, that source of discouragement completely flips. When God is for us, He will help us to grow in the direction we need to grow, and those challenges become a source of encouragement. Who or what can be against us when we seek God? When we think this way, we can begin to look forward to the difficulties that we will face day to day because we know that they are there for us to overcome, and draw closer to achieving our goals. God only presents or allows challenges to us that He knows we can overcome (compare 1 Corinthians 10:13).
The Word of God admonishes us to grow. Such growth must begin with our relationship with God and our spiritual development. We read these instructions in the Bible: “… but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18) and “but, speaking the truth in love, [you] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16). When we work on our spiritual development by searching out the Truth, putting godly obedience into practice, and continually learning, we draw ever closer to God. This is important because if we want God to be our coach in life, we must have a good relationship with Him so we don’t lead ourselves astray by making decisions that exclude Him. When we actively work to grow spiritually and overcome the challenges that God allows or even gives to us, we will find growth to spring forth abundantly in every aspect of our lives.