no pain no gain challenges growth james 1

That’s a term we’ve all probably heard.   I’ve heard it a lot in the fitness circles lately.

I remember after I joined gym, one of the fitness guys was showing me around and showing me how the equipment works. And when he was showing me one of the machines, I remember he said something like “When it starts burning, that’s when you know it’s working”. And so, since then that’s how I’ve motivated myself when I’m working out, that if it’s burning, that means it’s working.

The natural inclination is to want to stop when it feels like it’s getting too intense, but in actual fact that’s when you need to be pushing harder because something great is happening in your body.  Your muscles are becoming stronger and your body is getting to a new level of fitness and endurance.

What happens if you stop? Well, you don’t necessarily lose anything that you’ve already gained.  But if you stop at the same point every time, or stay at the same level or continue doing exactly the same thing, you will most likely just remain at the same point.

So generally, with fitness, after a while you need to push yourself to a more difficult level …..whether it’s adding more weights, adding more time, increasing the difficulty setting, you get the point.  Otherwise your body gets used to that level of exercise, and the exercise isn’t that effective anymore.

“When it starts burning, that’s when you know it’s working”

A very similar principle applies to our spiritual growth. As a Christian, it’s great and all to fall in love with and be taken by all the niceties and benefits and promises of living this life, but the reality is that a bulk of the Christian life involves being reshaped and sharpened and chiseled and moulded into a different person….which is always uncomfortable and often painful.

This moulding almost always happens through life’s challenges, and what I’ve found is that oftentimes when we face challenges, our usual response is to pray to God to take them away, to stop the burn, not realising that something great is happening in your journey…….your character is becoming stronger and you are getting to a new level of faith and endurance.

We need to change our perspective on challenges because challenges are a godly thing! We need to be challenged in order for us to move to the next level, growth often comes when we are pushed beyond our current levels of comfort. So, in actual fact, we have to welcome challenges because they bring growth.

Scripture, more than once, admonishes us to look forward to trials. I’ve always thought that James 1:2-4 was a crazy scripture, but I’ve only recently got to understand it.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. (Say what??).  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

It’s usually hard to think this way when we’re going through them but trials do work for our good. I’ve tried to change my perspective, and my prayers regarding challenges. When I used to pray mostly for God to take me out of that challenging situation, I now pray mostly for God to give me the strength to go through that situation, and for my character to be strengthened from it.

It’s not as easy as it sounds but it actually makes life that much easier, because I’m not as fazed by challenges anymore. And also the knowledge that trials and challenges don’t necessarily say anything about the status of my relationship with God is freeing (although the outcome/response can be an indicator of where we are with Him or how much we know and trust His love)

Ok, lemme stop here… point is that Christanity burns ?.