I recently finished Growing Life bible study and wanted to share my testimony with you. The reason I chose to take Growing Life was because it was the one bible study that I hadn’t taken yet and I heard from others that it was a little different. Compared to the other bible studies, Growing Life was a lot more personal. I enjoyed this more because it was nice being able to share my thoughts and experiences and also learn more about Pastor Caleb through this time.
Although I grew in multiple ways through this bible study, I wanted to share with you one particular aspect of my growth. Before taking Growing Life, I was experiencing a lot of change in my life and my relationship with God was strong. So going into the bible study I wasn’t really sure what to expect and I didn’t know what God was going to reveal to me through this period.
During one of the weeks, we learned about how we as Christians have two natures. Our old nature is what seeks to fulfill and praise ourselves, while our new nature seeks for the love of God to flow through us, helping us to overcome sin. Before becoming a Christian, our old nature is what directs our life; like our thoughts, desires, and behaviours. And after we receive Jesus into our hearts, He gives us a new nature that helps us to be more like Him. I felt that learning this was when I experienced the most growth because the battle I was having between my new nature versus my old nature became more evident to me and challenged me in many ways.
If you know me well, I am sure you are aware of my driving style. For those of you who don’t know, if I could describe my driving in 3 words it would be: fast-but-safe. The reason I am sharing this is because back when I started this bible study, I also began a school term so I had to drive to Waterloo once a week. It was stressful for me because the horrible traffic and slow drivers would trigger me to become easily agitated and impatient. During this time, I learned a lot about my lack of patience and my quick temper when it came to driving. I started to realize more about this bad aspect of my character and I struggled to deal with it.
As I was confronted with these negative qualities that I had, I learned that we ultimately belong to the choices that we make in our everyday lives. During that specific time, I was choosing to live by my old nature by having no patience and letting my emotions take control of my thoughts and behaviours. So for example while driving, if the traffic was moving slowly or someone cut me off randomly, I would have my own angry episode and either give them a look or yell at them from inside. I didn’t deal with it in the best way. Since I knew I had to change this part of myself, I prayed asking God to give me more patience and self control. However, I didn’t find this to be helpful and every week my temper rose again, which left me frustrated with myself.
Then during bible study we learned that God doesn’t simply give us the qualities we want. Instead, He provides us with the source of those qualities. So rather than giving me the ability to be slow to anger and more gentle, He already gave me Himself, who is actually all of these characteristics and also my new nature. Because Christ lives inside of us, I realized that I needed to stop trying to control my own actions, but rather let Him control me. When I was tempted to fall into sin by having a bitter heart and a hot temper, I learned the importance of choosing Jesus to be in power rather than my emotions. When I did this, I no longer struggled so much with road rage and my attitudes and actions began to change slowly.
Of course this doesn’t mean that I am now a perfect person. I definitely struggle between my old and new nature at times. But the difference is that now I am fully aware of the decision I need to make every moment of my life. That decision is to crown Jesus and his nature as Lord rather than crown myself. When I do this, the fruit of Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control can be emphasized and help me to grow and live my life more like Jesus.