It sounds a lot like work
1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT)
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
I often Kidd around with my wife as to why I don’t have a perfectly chiseled abdomen.
The funny thing is I normally ask her this while I have a bag of Doritos and a cold Pepsi in my hand as I am sitting in my recliner watching my favorite tv series of course.
Why might somebody roll their eyes? Or think I am dumb for expecting results like chiseled abs when I am not in a circumstance that will produce those results?
It’s because we all understand what is required. We know that our bodies have to be placed under stressful and often uncomfortable circumstances in order to produce those kinds of results.
We don’t get chiseled abs and bigger biceps sitting on the couch and watching our favorite TV show (I wish ;)).
Spiritual growth and spiritual maturity happen in the same way. Our spiritual bodies grow when they are placed in situations that are uncomfortable and causes us to flex our faith muscles.
Much like the person that dreads getting up and going to the gym, likewise, the Christian can dread walking through these valleys. But when we know what the outcome is then we can rejoice knowing the fruit of our struggle.
God much like a personal trainer knows what we need.
He knows you and I need discipline and training to bring out Christ-likeness in us.
You need motivation
Philippians 2:13 (NIV)
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Our very personal trainer works in us to will and to do His good purposes. There will always be a fight between our desires and God’s.
You need motivation so He gives you a motivator.
You need specific workouts
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Those who fail to plan plan to fail.
Lucky for us God created one for us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. So who better to come up with a custom plan for our training.
Don’t be surprised
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
So don’t be surprised when something that requires a little more than you thought you had in you comes your way.
Remember God has a plan and He has your best interest in mind. Much like sitting on the couch binge-watching your favorite series will never produce a stronger leaner body, a stressless, comfortable Christian life will never produce the kind of faith, maturity, and perseverance you want.
Much like athletes, we should be ready to train and ready to be put in the game.