If you’re trying to get in top physical condition, you’re going to need to work hard and endure some pain. Getting in shape requires you push your body to its limits and beyond. If you’ve been through this process before, you know all too well how gratifying it is to achieve hard fought training goals. There is a lesson in the physical fitness model that applies directly to our walk with Jesus. Reaching maturity as a Christian also requires hard work and pain.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2 (NIV)
Most of us have, at some point, gone through some kind of athletic training. You don’t have to be an exceptional athlete to have experienced the benefits of hard work. Even if your fitness routine is limited to walks around the block, you have without question, reaped the rewards of your effort. Beyond physical fitness, hard work in any endeavor generally results in significant gains. You may have gone through a hard fought growth experience at work or at school that involved some mental anguish along with plenty of emotional stress. It doesn’t matter if your struggle ended in victory or defeat; the experience alone developed your skills in such a way as to be better prepared for the next hurdle in your path. Facing adversity and overcoming is a grand source of character development.
“You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:3 (NIV)
Every road block in your life is a chance for you to develop the kind of perseverance that will help you face the toughest battles. Praise God for the difficulties in your life that are preparing you for the challenges yet to come. The pain of a hard workout is real, but at the same time the knowledge that you are growing stronger with every difficult step is satisfying and exhilarating. Take on the struggles of life with a heart full of joy for the opportunity to grow in your faith. Know that God is with you every step of the way and in the end your joy will be complete.
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 (NIV)
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