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Kathy Collard Miller

 

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where our perfect weather has begun.

How do you envision spiritual growth? Most of us think of it visually like a linear time line. On the left side of the line we make a step of progress and the temptation seems to be behind us and we won’t address it again. We have moved along that line to the right and we’ll only encounter new challenges—not old ones.

But that’s not an accurate visual of change. Change is more like a spiral. Let’s call it a whirlpool. We’re going around and around in life and every time we reach a certain situation or person, there’s a rock, representing a sinful strategy that hits us, tempting us to behave badly. If we think there are no rocks (as if they are behind us in a time line), we’ll be surprised and unaware of their approach.

But knowing that we have the tendencies of a particular sinful strategy, we can see that rock in the whirlpool coming. Instead of being knocked around by it, we can actually chip off a piece by laying hold of God’s power and resisting the temptation. Little by little, chip by chip comes off that rock; it becomes smaller and smaller until it disappears—or grows so little that the temptation is easily resisted.

Unfortunately, the whirlpool of life reveals new rocks in different places. And so, as we identify the reasons for the rock, we can more easily see the rock (the temptation) approaching.

But we’ll also be more aware of deeper levels of sin. We think growth should eliminate our awareness of sin but it only makes it more glaring and noticeable. Pastor John MacArthur, Jr, says, “But let me warn you that the more victory you experience as you mature in Christ, the more you will recognize sin in your life.”

So here’s the bad and good news. The bad? Challenges to change and grow in holiness are never-ending. God will work on our sanctification until the day we die (Philippians 1:6).

The good news? Growth is possible. We can be strengthened in God’s power to resist temptations more and more. But that growth will occur most effectively when we believe it’s not a time line but a whirlpool.

 

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About Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of 51 books including “Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible study series”. She is also an internationally traveled speaker, speaking in 31 states and 8 foreign countries. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Larry, with whom she often writes and speaks at marriage retreats. Her primary ministry is writing women’s Christian living books and speaking at women’s retreats and events. She loves to encourage women to know who they are in Christ and how to trust God more.

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