Most of the time the things that are good for us require much effort and sometimes come with some agony or discomfort. Think about it, to lose weight- you must change eating habits (get rid of the chocolate chip cookies or ice cream); to get in shape – must workout (whether at home or at LA Fitness) which in turn may cost you some money for a membership. To be more productive at work -must get up forty-five minutes early just to get there to be ahead of the curve. To be prepared to take an exam (any kind of exam) may require long nights or early mornings to be prepared. No matter in what form or for what purpose-there is always some discomfort when we are trying to change or work towards a goal.
There used to be an old saying in the workout arena stating “No pain, no gain” meaning greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work. Under this motto a lot of people, including athletes and bodybuilders adopted and this became there lifestyle. Sometimes we can even admit, that if we do not have a little pain the goal was not worth it. Sometimes we put this condition on ourselves. Not saying anything is wrong with putting a bit of pressure on oneself but I think that we can glean spiritually from this physical motto.
Let me just be honest, this christian walk is not easy nor is it without some pain and hurt. Sometimes it requires us to give up some stuff -that we really may not want to do but because of the ending we are trying to achieve, it is necessary. Sometimes in order to grow in the Lord, we have to give up some stuff but also put on some stuff. “No pain, no gain” may mean that we have to hold our tongue when we want to let someone have it for disrespecting us. It may mean having to go through heartache of loss of a relationship that the Lord has said is not fruitful. Or sacrificing something that the Lord is saying let go of but (you) we are wanting to hold on too. This is painful and requires us to look beyond the moment of temporary discomfort and focus on the goal.
For years I have worked out and have tried to form a type of regimen that keeps me in some form of shape. (these days not so consistent but I am working on it) So I can remember being in the gym on a leg day and trying to make it through the last few reps of an exercise-wanting to give up but the drive in me not allowing me to. Or maybe on a cardio day, wanting to stop short of the last mile because I was tired and even attempted to convince myself – that I have done enough I can stop now. The interesting thing was that when I would feel that way something innately in me would say don’t sell yourself short. The Holy Spirit one day reminded me that this same attitude is needed when it comes to conforming to a changed lifestyle for Christ.
It is not easy but it is rewarding when we stay with the goal of being changed for Christ. Anything worth having must be worked to maintain and this Christian lifestyle that brings about an expected end is all of that. I challenge you to not focus on the pain but think about the rewards that will come from your determination to live a changed life. Not only will Christ be pleased but your life will be a reflection of what you put into it. (remember the example of workout) Friend, we can be successful in the earth with our life and how Peter is reminding us in the text to control our thinking. Oftentimes, what you think about is how things will come about. Peter made a conscious choice to denounce the fleshly thinking and live for greater gratification. Not only must we control our thinking but we must arm ourselves the same way as Christ did. This is good news because this means what Christ did we too can have the same outcome if we put on the same thinking and follow through with his example. I love this good news because this is how we can grow in the midst of our pain. (No pain, no gain) We must keep our focus on the End results, which give us the expected end.
So when you think that you want to give in or give up- don’t. Press in friend-press in and stay committed to that which Christ will workout if you faint not in due season, you shall reap a harvest. Thinking right now about one situation that recently God worked out for you or your family and how there was some pain but the gain far outweighs the pain.