"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Galatians 6:9-10. ESV.)
This year has been a significant one for me in grasping God's character, His laws, putting together His word and obeying it collectively (instead of a piece at a time), trusting in Him completely, unwavering faith, the discipline and importance of prayer, measures of faith, the baby believer verses the mature follower of Christ, relying on the Lord rather than man, vengeance being His, obedience, and pride (lack of wisdom and the idol of self).
I have been dealing with the same tribulation for over ten years now. It has spanned many levels and presented numerous challenges of which I stared in the face and thought to myself, "There's no way!" But with God, NOTHING is impossible (Matthew 19:26) and I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I was/am NEVER alone.
The Mature Follower
Though I grew up in the church, for the most part, I feel I was a "baby believer" (1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12-13, 1 Peter 2:2) for a prolonged period of time. I was so in love with God but I would perhaps call it a "puppy love" because I did not stay faithful to Him (though He stayed true to me). I was rebellious, naive, and very foolish. This disobedience covered the years of 1996-2006. But then, the Good Shepherd came and got me and brought me back to the cross. My days of wandering in the dark were over.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— (1 Peter 2:2. ESV.)
In 2005 or 2006 I was lead to a church building with a small congregation. I felt like an outsider but God was with me. Individuals shook my hand and said, "Welcome," but there were no invites to lunch, dinner, "Bunko", or bible study. I believed I had been misplaced and stopped attending after three to five times. But God did not let me off that easy.
He guided my heart to go back weeks later and give it a second try. The response from this "church family" was the same however God upped the incentive for me to stay. A spot had opened up in one of the preschool classes and my child was offered the position...which we took. Further, on one of the preschool days there was a ladies bible study which met. The book they were starting was Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom's SEEKING HIM: THE JOY OF PERSONAL REVIVAL. This is the workbook God used to wean me off of the milk and start me on the meatier foods. It was also during my time with this church I had a great teacher who "introduced" me to a fantastic pastor under whose instruction I have grown leaps and bounds spiritually. I think it is safe (after four years under the direction of the Holy Spirit) to call myself a mature believer now.
The Character and Word of God
To be continued...