Monday, October 7, 2019

No Pain, No Gain

A mantra of the fitness world - no pain, no gain.

A simple statement to reflect the truth that in order for muscles to grow, in order for us to see physical progress, there will be pain involved.  Muscles grow by working them to the point of damage and then letting them repair themselves.  I.e. they grow when we work them to the point of soreness and let them repair themselves.

The same can be true in our spiritual lives.  Our faith grows through testing.  Through trials.  Through exercise.

When we are in the easy times, when things are going well, it's kind of easy to coast.  To become comfortable.  Complacent.

To stagnate.

It can be why it seems our faith grows, our faith is strongest in the valleys.  In the hardest times.  When we struggle.  When serving seems like a challenge.

Paul writes about this in his letter to the Roman church.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
Romans 5:1-5

Paul puts into order how our faith grows.  From struggling to perseverance.  From the depth of the problem to the ability to work through it.  Our valleys, our troughs are the starting point for our ability to persevere.  

When we can persevere, that reveals and strengthens our character.  Who we are when no one is watching.  What you have left after the storm is what you truly had in the first place.  It's what exists beyond the mask, the facade that we all put up.

It's a reflection of the process of refinement.  When metal is refined, it is melted so the impurities can rise to the top and be removed.  Our sufferings, our struggles refine us.  They bring our impurities to the top, so God can reveal them, and remove them.

It's when this process is complete that we find our hope.  Where we can rest in God's love poured out on us.  In the glory of God.

So, the question arises - where are you in that process?  Have you reached hope?  Are you still somewhere in progress?  

Or are you avoiding the struggles?

Are you complacent in your faith and situation?

This doesn't have to be about external struggles that we find ourselves in.

Are you stretching yourself in your faith?  Are you exercising your faith?  Are you wrestling with it?  

Are you reading the scripture, truly digging into it for understanding and struggling with it's difficulties?  Or are you merely consuming it for a checklist?

Are you interacting with people that are different than you?  That think differently than you?  That believe differently than you?  People that are a challenge to love?  To forgive?  To serve?  Or are you surrounded only with people who go to your church who are exactly like you?

Is your faith comfortable?  Or are you being pushed on toward growth?

This life was never meant to be comfortable.  It was meant to be worth it.

No pain, no gain.

No comments:

Post a Comment