Sometimes explaining an abstract concept can by quite tricky, so I'll start with an illustration. Our skin stretched with us as we grew from children into adults. Spiritual growth on the other hand is a little different in my experience. It is almost as if your spiritual skin doesn't stretch and as you can imagine, this could be problematic when growth occurs. You would literally have to grow out of your skin and in my experience this is how it feels.
Your spiritual skin is made up of your revelations, beliefs and understanding of God and His word and these shape and grow constantly as we grow closer to God. We go through different stages, sometimes we are comfortable with what we understand and believe and sometimes we feel challenged by God or others. We need to be challenged, because there is no growth without challenge.
When we feel comfortable with our revelations, beliefs and understanding of God, we feel comfortable in our spiritual skin and super confident, but when God starts challenging our understanding or increasing our revelations, we become uncomfortable. Something needs to give way, somewhere the skin needs to tear and new skin (new revelation) needs to grow, and sometimes old skin (incorrect understanding) needs to be cut out and thrown away. The only way that this can occur is when we tear the skin and make the adjustment. This process can be confusing and vulnerable. We all like feeling confident, but when we have a tear in our skin and a new revelation needs to grow, we might feel vulnerable in certain spots and maybe a bit unconfident and not so sure of ourselves.
But not to worry, as we grow into the new skin our confidence will grow again and our new revelations will inspire us forward. The old skin being cut away will allow space for God to pour new understanding into our hearts.
It reminds me of this verse: "Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17 ESV)
Never become an old wineskin, God cannot put new understanding into old thinking, it will be too much for you to handle. We must rather keep our wineskins fresh, flexible, ready to be tailored and ready to grow. If you find yourself in the middle of a growth spurt, take heart, even though it feels like you are moving backwards, you are in actual fact moving forwards. God is taking you from glory to glory as He tailors you to receive more of His wonderful love and wisdom.
Picture credit: www.f-stopeight.com