The Value of Being Challenged

By Sister Deborah Negron

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:16‭-‬17 KJV

There are people who prefer to run from the crisis (Including me).

We prefer never to have that confrontation. We would rather keep it together and say okay and remain the same. We look at conflict negatively. We face challenges with our defences up. We want to coast without rowing. But sometimes we need to tow and others we need to sit at the feet of those who will cause us to mature and be nurtured in our faith.

God is so wonderful. He surrounds his children with those that challenge our understanding. He causes us to be questioned… yes, sifted, as it were. He tests us. He provokes us to grow by challenging our false beliefs and our false perceptions. He confronts us with truth that at first, hurts. It may make us uncomfortable and even feel rejected. But it is for our growth.

Proverbs 21:1 states,
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

In the old King James version it says,
“Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.”

I don’t know about you, but this seems harsh, right. But let’s look at it. It is better to be corrected than to continue in ignorance. It is better to attain knowledge, if it means, we will grow and develop in character and in our spiritual maturity.
I would much prefer to be surrounded by those who challenge my wrong way of thinking, than to be surrounded by those who just agree and go along with my ill thought process.

Imagine a coach that let’s you play any which way without teaching you the rules of the game.

Imagine a teacher, that let’s you continue with your errors in math. The outcomes would not be favourable.

Or the parent that never corrects the child and the child grows up wayward and foolish.

I thank God for the people God has surrounded my life with. First my parents, Lord knows time and time again, they have pointed me in the right direction. Then there are servants of God, willing to be in the gap. I think of Nelson and Noelia who went beyond their comfort zone and interceded for me. They were there when no one else seemed to understand. Their godly, advice, confronted me with the fact, that I could not continue to live in my past failures. I needed to allow God to nurture, heal and use the worst of what I had been through, to mold me for his purpose. They helped me regain my faith when no one else seemed to be present.
Then there is Cassie, she made personal sacrifices to challenge me to trust God in the worst times of life.
I thank God for Cassandra and for Ramonita Castro they became family and demonstrated God’s live in tangible ways. I thank God for Joe Santos and Sonia Santos. They have challenged my thoughts of self pity and my negative thoughts. They provoked me to forgive and to seek the Lord’s will. They continue to cause me to grow in my faith. Then there is Claudia Dominike, who has been there in some of the most painful moment of my life and helped me through them. Then she has celebrated with me in the times of joy. She sometimes, challenged my style or my way of doing things, in order to help me see things in a whole new light. She shared her faith in a day to day relationship of friendship.
I praise God for these people.
Then there is Maria Teresa Quiles, she has been such a blessing in my life. She is that Iron that sharpens iron. Causing me to look at my greatest flaws and my greatest losses. She has used God’s word to enable me to open my eyes and see that there is more to this walk than just doing. She has challenged me to love myself, to forgive myself and to surrender the hurts to God. She has pointed at the strengths and also at the shortcomings in order to help bring me to a place of equilibrium in this walk of faith.

You may wonder, why would I share these personal thoughts. Well, The Bible tells us to walk in truth. If I am to be truthful, I need to admit my shortcomings. I have not arrived. I have yet much to grow and to experience.

This life is a process. My pastor, William Gonzalez, says, it is the “Laboratory of God.” It is where we get tested. Remade, repaired and restored.
It is in this process that we allow the Lord’s Holy Spirit to change our hearts and become people who can bless others.

Oh, come on, there is no gain, without pain,
No birth, without labor. There is no growth without strains and pulls. There is no learning without examinations and practices and new challenges. We cannot attain the degree without study. We were created to flourish un controversy. It is the human paradox.
The baby cannot walk until he falls while attempting those first steps. The father cannot know the Joys of parenthood until he has had the long nights, the baby crying, the trial and errors that come with raiding children.
That baseball game isn’t watched until that boy has been trained in the sport.

Oh, God help me to continue to glean understanding. Help me to be able to grasp the lessons. Help me to be in this wilderness just long enough to attain the tools to achieve the mountain top.
Let your Holy Spirit make me a person who listens and assimilates.
Let me be not hindered by the criticism, but rather, let it shape me to your image and likeness.
Forgive me for not always seeing your purpose in correction. Help me to be useful for your glory. Have your way in me.

Ultimately, the desire of the heart of every believer is to glorify you.
Let me be counted with those that surrender.
Let me be one who is humble and not arrogant. Let me be one who pursues your will and not my own self worth.

You have loved us with an everlasting love. Therefore let us take heed to correction and not be offended by it. Let us be submitted to you and not seek our own comfort zone.

Thank you for your church and for your people. May we learn and grow into fruitful souls that bring you glory and honor. You are the Potter and we but the Clay.

1 Corinthians 14:12
Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Help us to be those that grow and edify the church. As we endeavor to build each other up for your glory.

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