Sometimes I think I’m not over my growing pains yet.

Remember those aches and pains when you were growing up that your mother called “growing pains”? And those raging emotions over broken friendships, broken hearts, and broken dreams? Yeah, those were growth pains, too.

Seems like a long time ago, but the aches and pains have returned, only now it’s due to growing old. Some days, the pain of lost friends and abandoned dreams returns as well.

But there’s another kind of growth pain that’s actually good for us, even if it doesn’t feel good at the time.

It’s when the Spirit pricks our conscience and shows us our failures. “God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions” (Hebrews 4:12, GWT).

When we study God’s Word, we realize that we have not lived up to His holy standards. Even after we accept Christ as Savior, we are unable to follow His commands all the time. Maybe we tell a  white lie, or we doubt His promises, or we get angry and hold a grudge against someone. Or we spend more time seeking pleasure than sharing His love. I know I’m guilty of all these things.

But scripture reminds us we don’t have to stay in that place of failure. Paul wrote,  “Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness” (Ephesians 1:7, GWT).

Because of God’s love and His Son, I may feel pain when I confront my shortcomings. But if I pay attention and allow Him to change me, that pain leads to spiritual growth.

Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. If someone listens to God’s word but doesn’t do what it says, he is like a person who looks at his face in a mirror, studies his features, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1;22-24, GWT).

I don’t know about you, but I want to remember what His Word says and live it. With His help, I can endure the growing pains and actually reflect His character.