On Friday I attended a fitness class at 5:15, also known as 0515, as in am (IN THE MORNING) that included what felt like 800 squats, some easier to swallow jumping jacks, some type of medieval torture maneuver called the v-sit, not to mention a crazy number of push-ups and more torture in the form of burpees.
Since then, my body has betrayed me. A simple motion of turning to grab the seat belt? Forget it, my shoulders are screaming. Take off a bra in a graceful maneuver, let alone a sports bra? No way, my biceps will not comply. Sitting on the toilet? Literally feels like free-falling because my legs are so shaky. And two days after the class, my legs rebelled while on a hike sending all of my girth to a meeting with our sister “Gravity.”
I’m trying to re-establish healthy habits in my life…not necessarily so that I’m the same size I was in my 20s, but rather so that I’m taking care of my body and hopefully prolonging my life. While I’m struggling right now to have my body adjust to working out, the long run will be for the betterment of my health.
Isn’t it the same with the health of our spiritual life? If we haven’t already established healthy habits for spending time with God, it seems like adjustments are insurmountable and painful.
For instance, the believer who doesn’t spend much time reading the Bible, may struggle with implementing a ‘read the Bible in a year’ plan. The Christian who has never shared the Gospel, may struggle with how to speak to an unbeliever about Christ. The church member who hasn’t recovered from previous ‘church hurts,’ may have trouble joining small groups or trusting leaders. In any given scenario where we are creating habits to spend more time with God, it is easy to come up with excuses to quit.
These are trials of our faith. And we only become stronger in Christ when we face the trials head on and endure the pain associated with adjustments.
We see this illustrated in James 1:2-4 (NASB), “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Keep in mind that the James passage is talking about any trial we may face in life. However, if we apply it to the health of our spiritual life, we begin to see that our endurance in our prayer life, in studying the Word, in reading the Bible, in sharing the Gospel…all of that is a result of strengthening our faith. Ultimately, it will strengths our reliance on God.
It may be a struggle to adjust schedules for prayer, or learn how to share the Gospel, or study different languages and translations of the Bible…but those are important exercises in our Christian walks. Just like the pain of strapping on the seat belt or sitting on the toilet after a hard workout, in the long run we’re better for it.
The pain reminds us of the trial. It strengthens us. It makes us healthier.