No Pain, No Gain

May 16, 2017

The old phrase for athletes says, “no pain no gain.” Meaning, if the weight you're lifting, the distance you’re running, the number of push-ups you're doing doesn’t stretch you to your limit and beyond, then you’re really not accomplishing anything with it. As a certified gym-rat, I’ve seen this principle in action numerous times.

It’s the same with dieting. You think, "I’m going to lose weight before summer." So what do you do? You change things. You drink more water, change your diet and workout habits, and then it happens--you start to get sore. It's not because you’re injured, but because you’re stretching out those muscles you haven’t used in a few years. Or, you start adding back in a few of the things from your normal diet, thinking "It’s okay if I have a pack of peanut butter crackers--that won’t kill me" or "I’ll have some ice cream with my family tonight after dinner--I earned it.

The problem is twofold. Before you know it, you’re not enjoying your food, but you aren’t losing weight either! You’re dieting just enough that the majority of what you eat is bland, tasteless and healthy (I know, I eat six egg-whites for breakfast and grilled chicken almost every day...after a while it loses it’s flavor). At the same time, you’re snacking just enough that you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

That's the way it is with us in our spiritual walk, isn’t it? Easter comes and we love spending time with family and friends. We may even have gone to church to hear an awesome sermon! But soon enough, the shine has faded and next thing you know, we’re fiding all sorts of reasons not to continue with the spiritual disciplines we wanted to accomplish just a few weeks ago.

I get too busy to go to church. I set a new commitment to start reading the Bible, but then I get to the book of Numbers with all of those...numbers...and my brain starts to get sore and complain like a tricep doing dips for the first time in 10 years. I started a new prayer regimen, but then give up because I want to “say something fresh and new” everyday and it feels like my prayers have become stale and boring--like the same chicken and broccoli I eat for lunch everyday.

In this post-Easter lull, I want to encourage you to work out your spiritual muscles to grow in your walk with Christ. It might be hard, but do it anyways because your life depends on it. Recent statistics show that our world is less affiliated with churches than at anytime in the past 200 years-- yet they are asking more spiritual questions than at any other time in history.

The God of the universe, the One everyone is spending all of their time and energy searching for, is calling out to you! He gave His everything for you. He died for you. He reminds you that He will never leave you alone or abandoned to make sense in the world. Instead, He is just a prayer away.

So, here's my challenge for you today: Set a goal for how you want to grow in your walk with Him. Then push through the pain, overcome the discomfort and achieve the gains that He has in store for your life.

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