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Monday, October 31, 2011

Do Not Be Deceived; Christ is Risen!

In college, I had one professor who told the class that he would accept any written interpretation of the poems we were reading, as long as we could find sufficient proof of our point in the text itself.  In other words, if we wanted him to believe our take on it, we had to find a lot of things that supported what we were saying, and explain away all of the things that seemed to disprove our point.  This task is a lot trickier than it may sound.

Last night, I discovered that the old second-hand paperback novel I've been reading for awhile was actually an attempt to disprove Christianity.  I suppose I suspected it all along, but I had been withholding judgment until the end.  Less than fifty pages from the end, the author suddenly began clumsily trying to explain away the miracles of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection, and even the calling of Paul.

My outrage over the distortion and omission of evidence throughout this anti-Christian diatribe has led me to talk about such things today.  I don't want to mention this author's name, or the name of his book, because I don't want to give notoriety to people who disseminate false information.  I will, however, address the author's theories, because they are commonly propagated thinking:
  •  Parables and even non-miraculous prophecies concerning Christ are accepted as having really happened, but problematic prophecies are neatly avoided.  For instance, it is easy to accept the prediction that Christ would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey's foal (Zechariah 9:9). That can be arranged by human effort.  It is much, much harder to accept other Messianic prophecies, such as Christ's virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14).  A good theory should have an explanation for every prophecy; it should not be so easily undermined by additional information.
  • The claim that Jesus did not die at the crucifixion, but rather fainted, was put forth.  I have heard this many times, but it always omits a vital detail from the crucifixion--the account of the Roman soldier piercing Jesus' side (John 19: 33-35).  The soldiers had come to break Jesus' legs to hasten His death, but they found Him already dead, according to the Biblical account.  Obviously, based on the story in the Bible, the bloody water gushing out meant that the Roman soldier hit something vital with his spear, as he intended, because he, too, wanted to make sure Jesus hadn't just fainted.  It was his job to ensure there were no survivors of this execution.  I've read some medical theories put forth that said the organ punctured was the pericardium, the watery sack around the heart.  It makes sense to me that the soldier would have aimed for Jesus' heart in this killing blow.
  • The claim that this was a small group of isolated people, who all believed in Jesus anyway, and thus saw what they wanted to see at the time of His crucifixion.  The only way this could be believable is if there had been no evidence that could convince an outside skeptic.  This means overlooking the supernatural occurrences on the night of Jesus' death, which even Pharisees and Romans observed and could confirm.  For instance, there was three hours of darkness during the daytime, from noon until 3 o'clock (Matthew 27: 45), a serious earthquake that tore a very thick curtain (about a foot thick) that hung in front of the Holy of Holies, and a lot of dead people who came back to life and entered the city, appearing before many (Matthew 27: 50-53).  Even pagan Romans are recorded as having spoken out their belief that Jesus was no average man, to have died with such signs around Him (Matthew 27: 54).  To say early believers made these things up is ludicrous, since they could easily be proven or dismissed.  The fact that they could so easily been dismissed is itself verification that they did happen.
  • The claim that the apostles and even Paul were naive, having been deceived by Jesus and several "co-conspirators," including Judas.  Considering the context and the penalty of joining in lies of this magnitude or believing in them, I think this is at best an arrogant insult to human intelligence--both mine and these early Christians.  Concerning their alleged naivety, though the apostles were uneducated men (Acts 4: 13), they did not lack the ability to think.  Paul, in contrast, was one of the best educated men among all of Israel; he knew what scripture said and could not be tricked by a few twisted scriptures, or even a multitude of them (Acts 22:3).  If they were in any way not acting in a clear, well-informed frame of mind, they had to be crazy, not merely naive.  Furthermore, this theory is ridiculous because, when faced with the threat of death, most people take stock of what is important to them.  People don't die for something they doubt themselves, and certainly are not inclined to die for something they know is a lie.  Maybe a few might try such a thing, but at least one person who is "in on it," will talk. 
I could go on analyzing the book and these commonly-held false theories about Jesus, but I think that is enough to make my point.  There is far too much evidence supporting the deity of Christ to easily dismiss this claim with a few half-baked theories.  Any good theory would have to answer all the evidence presented, or it would fall short of being believable.  Well, at least, that's how it should be.

Anyone can believe in theories without hearing the opposing evidence.  This is done all the time, and it attracts a large readership of people who don't check their facts.  These theories leave readers in jeopardy, because one well-aimed fact will undermine all that they believe.  I pray that for the sake of the deceived, the facts will destroy these theories before too many are taken in by them.

It is best that Christians should not be numbered among the gullible masses.  As my banner for the site reminds you, Christians are warned to be, "shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves, " (Matthew 10:16 NIV).  My mission with this site is to inform Christians and encourage them to analyze these tricky theories, rather than fall victim to their entanglements.  The truth needs no defense, because it defends itself.  Our minds need defense, so we should arm our thinking with the truth.

Until next time, this is my reminder to stay savvy and hold on to Jesus.  He is worthy.  He really came, He really rose from the dead, and He really is coming again soon!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly Snippet: Remember

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 reveal knowledge.  They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.(Psalm 19: 1-4 NIV)

A long time ago, people used to use flowers to send coded messages to each other.  This was a part of a "flower language."  Most of that information has been forgotten, but a few remain.

Pansies symbolize the phrase,"remember me," because they were thought to resemble a human face.  I don't know about that, but I think they do make me remember one very special someone in my life--Jesus.

The Creator of the world thought I was important enough to send me there's a thought for today.

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.(Psalm 22: 27, 28 NIV).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Growing Backwards

It seems that grownup life is layer upon layer of increasing complexity.  Maybe it is boredom with the simple concepts we once came to know, or maybe this reflects our advancing skills in everything from juggling tasks at work to cooking a gourmet dinner.  More likely, it has to do with the competitive nature of adulthood.  If you can't distinguish yourself from the rest, you could suffer rejection and loss of one kind or another. All I can say is that being a grownup is tough.

Our relationship with God is quite the opposite of "being a grownup."  Don't get me wrong.  It takes maturity to face the things that come with being a Christian, like dying to self and enduring persecution.  When it comes to the bare bones of Christianity, it's really pretty simple, and that's just what God wants for us.

While life gets more complicated with the passing days, God has very much simplified what He wants to see in us.  It's like growing backwards, and it's really quite refreshing.  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these," (Matthew 19:14 NIV).  Heaven is full of people who come to Jesus with the same level of trust, understanding, and faith as little children!

Take a moment to study this.  The children who swarmed Jesus were eager to know Him and see Him.  They didn't question His claims that He was the Son of God.  They just accepted Him eagerly.  They didn't complicate matters by wondering if they were worthy to know Him;  they didn't contemplate whether they were attractive enough, holy enough, learned enough, rich enough, or popular enough.  They just came.  This simple motive, to know Him and be known, is what Jesus most longed to see in those adults who also swarmed around Him.

God doesn't want anyone to be blocked from knowing Him, due to some lack of skill or distinction.  It's not a competitive race to the top with Him--He wants us all to be winners!  Here's the most-quoted passage on childlike faith in the Bible, for review:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18: 1-4 NIV)
I'm sure that gathering of adults was wondering, "What could this random kid know that I don't know already?"  The answer to that is key.  The kid didn't know anything that they didn't already know.  The kid already had all the qualities that God needed from all of them:  Faith, obedience, trust, love, humbleness, attentiveness, etc.  God needs only the most basic of ingredients to work miracles.  That's how He transforms everyone who comes to Him, from the greatest to the least.  It is His skill, not ours, that shines, and His righteousness, not ours, that makes us ready for the kingdom. 

The problem that adults have is too much complexity, which stands in the way of what God wants to do with us.  As Peter wrote, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance," (2 Peter 3: 9 NIV).  God is waiting for us to recognize our overdeveloped sense of self-righteousness, and become humble and meek in our faith.  We need re-training in what is good and praiseworthy.  We need to become like children again, just learning from our Teacher, and stop coming to class with the attitude that we know more than the one teaching us.

It's time to go back to the basics with our faith, and praise the simple, unquestioning belief that isn't obscured by the cares of this world (Matthew 13:22).  Those who humble themselves to the authority of Jesus and humbly, obediently, selflessly obey what the Bible teaches will prosper.  Those who look for loopholes will stumble over their own faithlessness in God's competence.  He is competent, and His work proves that.

Let's grow backwards today, toward a simple, childlike faith, and find rest in Jesus.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5: 6, 7 NIV)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Snippet: Persistence Results in Growth

Today was an exercise in persistence for me.  I discovered a data entry project that seemed important and therefore urgent.  Little did I know that it would take almost four hours of constant repetitive tweaking (several small changes on each of approximately 100 things) to set it right.  By the half-way point, I was ready to do anything but finish!  The urgency seemed to have faded, and I longed for a shortcut, easy button, or magic wand.  It wasn't just a test in patience; it was a test in persistence.

Patience is the quality of being able wait for something without whining or protesting.  Persistence, on the other hand,  is continuing to try without giving up, even when the cause has gone away.  When it comes to long projects, we have to show patience to wait for the end without complaining, but we have to demonstrate persistence in doing something the right way, as many times as necessary or for as long as it takes.  Both are a mark of maturity.

So how did I fare today?  I think I did every piece of data entry with the same attention to detail as the last, but I will admit to complaining when I started getting tired and my lunch break was delayed.  I'm not there yet, but I'm working on this quality in myself.

Persistence, I see, is not just a good quality in business.  It's an essential part of spiritual growth, too.  We have to demonstrate patience when waiting for God to remove obstacles or answer prayers, but we also have to demonstrate persistence in our relationship with Him.  That means consistently praying, studying the Bible, and worshiping God with the same level of excellence and sincerity at all times.  It means not giving up or losing steam over time, when things seem comfortable, worn, or less exciting than at the beginning.

Persistence.  My word for today.  Can we learn persistence?

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up," (Galatians 6: 9 NIV).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Growing Through Praise

It is so easy to praise God when everything is going well. It doesn't take much maturity at all to remember to praise and thank God when things are going right.  It's nothing short of common courtesy, really.

The tough times are another thing entirely.  It doesn't seem like there is anything to thank and praise God for, when we are suffering under oppression, persecution, and fear.  However, praise is not an option in those times, either.  It is a necessary part of growth in our relationship with God.

The psalmist who wrote Psalm 113, declared at the beginning, "Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore," (Psalm 113: 2 NIV).  He didn't say, "Praise God when times are good."  He said to praise God constantly, starting now.  He then went on to elaborate, "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised," (Psalm 113: 3 NIV).  We are to praise God all day long, coast to coast, nation to nation, and in every stage of darkness and light in our lives.

The psalmist outlined two good reasons for doing this: (1) God is sovereign and ruler of us, overseeing everything and more powerful and worthy of praise than anything in creation (vs. 4-6); (2) God can easily and miraculously fix all of our problems, from poverty to barrenness (vs. 7-9).  This means that God is praiseworthy because He is God, but more so, because He is supremely good.

It is a lie to think that God is being unkind to us when hard times come, or that He is no longer worthy of praise.  Our perspective may be skewed by our circumstances, but God is never changed.  We must always remember that our God looks down on everything; He is never overcome by troubles or blinded from watching our daily lives.  Unlike imagined gods in the world, the sovereign God sees us and is moved to kindness by our hard times.  He is moved to protect us, to lead us, to bless us, to rescue us.  He doesn't just see, but He acts, and His every reaction is righteous.  This righteous quality is eternally praiseworthy!

This realization, I believe, is what gave the early Christians occasion to praise God, even when they were chained in prison, awaiting death (Acts 16:25).  They weren't seeing God's action at that moment, yet they demonstrated an unshaken faith in the character of God that sees beyond circumstances.  God is praiseworthy in His character at all times.  They were praising God because of who He is.  Their eyes were focused on Him, not on their own circumstances.  Because of their faith, and because of His plans, He delivered them--but that is almost beside the point.

An immature faith is still largely focused on ourselves, and what we feel we need to get from this relationship. It takes a mature faith to look beyond circumstances and focus on the reality of who God is, and praise Him for that.  Can we have eyes for God, and not just for our needs?  That is the challenge for today.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekly Snippet: He Knows Us Completely

I've been talking about growing in the Lord lately, trying to step back and really study what that means.  Christians today aren't following a dead religion, born of a dead book, and focused on a dead Christ.  He still lives, He still speaks, He still loves!  How little do we recognize what a miracle that is!  How often do we forget the God we are trying to know, and try to appease Him with ritualistic obedience?  When we pray, we are speaking in the ear of God, who hears us like a friend, lover, or parent would.  No need for formality and ceremony when sincerity is needed!

Something led me to re-read Psalm 139 this morning.  It talks about how closely God studies us and knows us.  Although human parents, siblings, friends, and spouses may know us so closely that they can almost always predict what we are about to say or do, God knows us better.  He knows our thoughts (v. 2); He knows our words before we speak them (v. 4); He saw us before we were formed, before we were born (v. 15, 16); He knew all of our days before the first one began (v. 16).  What's more, we cannot hide from Him or move so far away that He can't be with us (vs. 7-12).  There is no person who could ever care about us this much.  No one, not even the most doting mother or loving spouse, could ever love us this much!

God has invested so much time in getting to know us.  He loves us to the point of preoccupation, and I don't mean that in a negative way.  We are flattered when our boyfriend or girlfriend remembers our favorite ice cream or can read us so well that they can predict and respond to what we are about to ask.  We should be flattered, rather, awed by a God who cares to know so much about each of us.

We should also return that love, to the best of our abilities.  God knew we couldn't get to know Him as well as He knows us, because we are finite, so He did His best to make Himself known.  He introduced Himself to us before we asked, and told us about Himself before we got curious.  He's come more than half-way to meet us.  How can we love Him back with the same passion?

I think we should mirror His actions toward us, and the feelings will come along with those gestures.  When someone does something kind to you, and you reciprocate, an affection is formed.  So it is with God.  God reads and studies His book about us, and we should read and study the Bible, written about Him.  God studies our thoughts and anticipates what we will think and do; similarly, we should seek to understand and anticipate what God is thinking, through what He has shown us about His view of the world, and right and wrong.  God stays with us, wherever we are, and His hand is always upon us, and we should likewise follow where He told us He will be, and keep our hand firmly in His.  It's not hard, and it's not "religious."  It's a natural affection that grows imperceptibly, not willfully by the things we are doing but freely because of the things that we do.

Here is a video, by the group Downhere, that talks about rediscovering God and growing in your personal relationship with Him.

Those are my thoughts for today.  Do you have other suggestions for getting to know God like He knows us?  Leave me a comment!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Growing in Wisdom

Lately, spiritual growth seems to be a recurring theme on this blog.  I feel this is an important topic for the body of believers everywhere.  We are increasingly under attack in the world today, whether it is physical, verbal, or emotional persecution.  It doesn't matter where a Christian lives or who he or she knows.  Christians, because they are called by that name, will face trouble (Luke 21: 17).  This situation calls for wisdom, so believers today can handle trouble with grace and keep their faith strong under the battering ram.

The Beginning of Wisdom

It is easy to say that something "calls for wisdom," but in practice, it can seem very hard to acquire that wisdom.  What can I say?  Growing in wisdom (or any kind of positive growth) will necessarily be painful.  To achieve virtue, we have to put to death the non-virtuous aspects of ourselves.  To achieve wisdom, we have to put to death the foolishness in our hearts and our thinking.

Put to death?  That sounds pretty harsh, doesn't it?  Yet that is how Paul described it--like crucifying ourselves with Christ (Galatians 2: 20; 5: 24).  Wisdom requires that we not only identify what is foolish in our behavior, but also that we eliminate it, permanently, from our lives.  Cutting something out forevermore is as close to killing it as I think we can get with this metaphor.

Turning our back on foolishness is also easier said than done, but the Bible tells us how to do it.  To start with, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding," (Proverbs 9:10 NIV).  If we don't fear God--that is, if we don't have healthy respect for His lordship and judgement over how we live our lives--we will never be wise.  This is something that even Christians need to remember sometimes, so that we don't fall into the trap of believing that God is our "chum" and not our judge as well.  Yes, God is our friend, but He is also capable of disciplining us.  If we can't believe there are consequences for foolishness, then we will never be motivated to change.  This motivation is the first step of the process.

Ways of Getting Wisdom

God made many ways of acquiring wisdom available to us, and none of them require superhuman powers.  Remember, His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11: 29, 30).  Rather than threatening us with a vague feeling of doom at some future time, and no directions on how to avoid it, He sends people--yes, people!--into our lives to do the work of discipline and instruction all along the way.  It should start with our parents (Proverbs 1:8-9; 29:15), but if we weren't fortunate enough to have parents to faithfully teach us the wisdom of the Lord, God will send us friends and even strangers to correct us when we err. If we appreciate this when it happens, and recognize the lessons, we will grow wise.  A wise heart cherishes rebukes from God, no matter the method or the vessel.  As it says in Proverbs, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses," (Proverbs 27:6 NIV), and in another place, "Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise," (Proverbs 19: 20 NIV).

There are faster, more painless, and more direct ways of gaining wisdom.  The first is to spend time reading the Bible and faithfully putting its teachings into practice.  It is preferable to learn something before punishment forces us to take it seriously, just like it was always better to truthfully answer "yes" when your mother asked you if you had cleaned your room, brushed your teeth, or taken out the trash.  I believe that studying the written word of God is what made Samuel a man of wisdom and a leader in Israel (1 Samuel 3: 19-22), since Eli, who was raising him, was not known to be a good parent who disciplined his sons.  We can benefit the same way today from just spending time reading the Bible daily and measuring our decisions by that standard.

The second painless way to gain wisdom is to directly ask God to give it to you.  This is like signing up for the accelerated course.  God can teach wisdom to any fool through discipline and from reading the Word, but it may take many repeated lessons before even the tiniest bit of wisdom is imparted.  Meanwhile, those who ask God for help in grasping the lessons will be given the ability to learn and understand more quickly.  What's the secret?  Human pride, which causes us not to ask for help when we need it, gets in the way of wisdom and shames us publicly through the necessity of repeated lessons (Proverbs 11: 2).  Humility, on the other hand, is rewarded by God.  Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, asked God for wisdom because he was already wise enough to understand the urgency of his need for wisdom as a ruler, and God granted it.

Growing in Wisdom

 So what can we learn from all of this?  As Daniel so wisely observed, God "gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning," (Daniel 2: 21b NIV).  Those who are wise will be given more, and those who persist in foolishness will continue to look foolish.  It is certainly better to grow in wisdom!

Today, let us yearn for that growth, because that is what God wants for us.  Let's go beyond the daily lessons and rebukes, and ask God to give us His wisdom.  We need it now, without further delay!  We need to learn from God's encouragement, rather than His punishment, because that is the best way.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekly Snippet: Thought Traps

I've been thinking today about some of the traps in thinking that so many of us (even Christians) fall into from time to time.  They aren't right beliefs, but this kind of thinking feels comfortable, logical, or easy.  Sometimes that can become dangerous!  This is why it's important to be analytical, prayerful, and maybe even a little self-critical from time to time, so we can catch these things before they wreck our lives.

Here are a few beliefs I've been analyzing today:

It is easier to believe that what we see is all that exists. However, the Bible constantly reminds us to pay attention to what is going on behind the scenes.  There are forces of good and evil at work at all times in the world around us (Ephesians 6: 12; Daniel 10: 12-14).  Just because we cannot see them, does not mean they don't exist.  It is vital that we remember our Adversary, Satan, and our Ally, God, and also keep in mind that God has already defeated Satan.  It's important that we don't focus too much on merely temporal things, because they distract us from the real issues.

It is easier to believe that we can be good enough, worthy enough, or deserving enough to have good things. The days of human worthiness passed away when Adam and Eve, followed by all of their descendants, chose to disobey God.  Now justice truly dictates that no one is good, worthy, or deserving.  No one has "leverage" with God, but those of us who know Him can confidently ask for and receive mercy from God (Daniel 9: 17-19; Hebrews 4: 16).

It is easier to believe that the payoff must be directly proportionate to the work we put into something. This seems right, maybe even biblical in its proportions, but it can lead to all kinds of errors. If this were true, then we would be able to work for grace, and we would always be paid for work we loved and put our whole effort into doing. Christians who obeyed God all their lives would get a better eternal reward than those who only obeyed God for the last five minutes of their time on earth.  In reality, God only asks of us that we obey Him and honor what is good, but the results are in His hands.  We can take comfort in knowing that whatever God gives us, it will be a good reward, and we will be satisfied in it (Matthew 7: 9-11; Deuteronomy 11: 13-15). God takes care of us, not the effort of our own arms, and He gives us what is good for us (even if it's not what we expected).

It is easier to believe that the truth is still out there, needing to be found, rather than present with us and revealing itself to us daily. Some people take a greater delight in the hunt for the truth than they do in the truth itself, but this is a trap.  Don't fall victim to the philosophical superiority of those who try everything but are not searching for a place to settle and grow in their faith.  They have no security in what they believe, and they yearn for depths they cannot reach.  God didn't make us to be satisfied with partial answers and a lack of spiritual depth.  The good news is, God made truth easy to find (Deuteronomy 30: 11-14), so we can move swiftly into the deeper levels of knowledge of Him!  God is truth, and He wants us to find Him (John 14:9).  We don't have to search long before we can get our deepest questions just ask!

Monday, October 3, 2011

When God Trains You for Bigger Things

"When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned," (Genesis 39: 3, 4 NIV).

Joseph knew, early in life, that he was meant for big things, but he didn't begin life with the skills and abilities already developed.  God carried him through hard training, so that one day he could juggle the responsibilities of a nation as well as those of his own household.  Joseph started managing Potiphar's household, moved from there to managing the prison where he lived, and from there, he went on to manage all of Egypt.  The superior organizational skills he had developed probably saved countless lives during the drought the region experienced in his day, and the consequences are still being felt through the modern-day descendants of that generation.

What can we take from this?  I've been thinking about that today.  I see that the struggles we are going through in life today may be God's way of developing our "muscles" for the responsibilities we will have to shoulder in the days ahead.  Remember, God doesn't make the problems, but He is always making solutions out of our problems.  As Paul put it, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," (Romans 8: 28 NIV 2011).

Joseph was called and raised up for a purpose--to save many lives, including those of his own family.  However, he didn't get there by himself.  He had to submit his will to God and continue to trust God, even when it got tough.  Because of his steadfast faith, God was able to equip and use him!

Similarly, many of you today may feel called for a purpose, but you may feel unable to accomplish it.  Take heart!  If you put your trust in God, He will equip you with the abilities you need.  An earthly teacher can lead us to harm, because he or she can't see what lies ahead, but God has proven Himself to be a God who gives sight to the blind, and who prepares us with the knowledge to stay out of trouble. Any student who trains with Him will grow to be like Him.  That is a good thing!
"He [Jesus] also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?  The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher." (Luke 6: 39, 40 NIV)

This isn't a passive, learning-by-osmosis equipping; you will have to apply yourself to the task of learning.  When life brings a challenge, put your trust in God and ask Him to guide you and to reveal the lesson.  Pair that with a thorough study of Scripture, because, "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work," (2 Timothy 3: 16-17 NIV).

More than likely, God is already at work in your life, training you for bigger and grander things.  Today, learn the lessons He sends!  He is teaching you righteousness and building virtue, so that you will be ready to handle whatever life brings.