I remember when I was a teenager having such an ache in my legs at night. I’d be laying on my bed trying to sleep, but I couldn’t get comfortable because of that dull, unrelenting ache in my legs. I’d go ask my Mom what was going on, and her reply was simple: “Those are growing pains.”
In order to grow in any area of our lives—physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally—we have to go through a certain amount of pain. No pain, no gain. The process is not always a lot of fun, but that’s why we have to keep our eye on the goal. The process may not be something we like, but the end results will make the pain worth it.
You may not like dieting but you like the weight loss or lower cholesterol numbers, so you stick with it. You may not like saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong, please forgive me” but you like the healed relationship, so you say it.
Throughout the New Testament the phrase one another is frequently used to address how members of the Body of Christ should relate to each other. God desires that all of us operate interdependently with one another. In order to get there, we must get ready for some growing pains!
In Ephesians 4, Paul tells us what is required to get to a place of unity and maturity in the Church:
- Be completely humble (the King James Version says lowliness). This Greek word means not letting our thoughts rise far from the ground. In other words, we are thinking of ourselves as God thinks of us, not independently, as a self-made man/woman, but viewing all of my success as God-appointed. This process toward interdependence starts in our thoughts, in our attitudes about ourselves and about others.
- Gentle = strength under control. Gentleness says, “I could do this, but for your sake I won’t.”
- Patient (KJV: longsuffering) interaction with others is allowing them the freedom to grow just as others allowed me the freedom to grow.
- Bearing with one another in love. Think of a load-bearing wall in a building that is holding up the weight of the roof and walls. When we bear with one another we are helping to share the burdens.
Being humble with ourselves, and gentle and patient with others, is the way we go through the growing pains of bearing with one another in love. The process may not be a lot of fun, but the end result is something that glorifies God, that’s why we must stick with one another through all our growing pains.