On the go? Press play!
Train yourself toward godliness (piety), [keeping yourself spiritually fit]. 8 For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come. 1 Tim 4:7b-8 AMPC
3 Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 4 And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Rom 5:3-4 AMPC
Ever feel like the challenges never end? Like life is just too hard? It’s like, as soon as you feel like you’ve gotten a chance to catch your breath, learned to deal with a particular hardship, more comes in a different form! I like to think that God has us in ‘spiritual crossfit’. People who enroll in crossfit are trained to perform successfully at multiple, diverse, and randomized physical challenges. Crossfit develops the fitness required of fire fighters, military and police personnel, and for many intense sports. So in order to be an upholder of the law, an enforcer of justice, one who has vowed to serve and protect…in order to be able to withstand the heat, to drag people from the flames and not suffocate dying with them, you have to be willing to train. People go through rigorous training, subject themselves willingly to physical tests that push them to their limits in order to produce a strength not required of the average civilian. So why do we expect to grow spiritually without going through trials? Without developing our faith through patience in affliction? Without persevering and trusting God when all hope seems lost?
What happens is that we get all comfy in our Christianity to the point where the armor of God is being used like a snuggie, to keep us warm and cuddly in our loving relationship with God. We’ve adjusted the pillows and found the perfect spot to rest until Jesus comes. We’re saved – Halleluiah! So now we want to just kick back at the ‘Salvation Station’ in the Sky Club and wait for the rapture train to take us away. We’ve become spiritually unfit. No muscle tone, no energy or zeal, not able to endure even the smallest hardships without whining or complaining.
We sing songs asking God to take us into the deep – where feet fail. But where feet fail, you have to be able to climb. That requires a strength you don’t get from hiding away while life passes you by. It takes work to be strong. God loves us too much to leave us the way we are and so He allows challenges and trials, hardships of many kinds, to build your spirit man to a place of strength where you can stand firm in life’s storms.
Why are we willing to train and sweat and toil to get our bodies to optimum physical fitness but expect spiritual fitness to happen like magic? The scripture says train yourselves toward godliness…keep yourself spiritually fit. Yet we give our lives to Christ and are unwilling to go through difficulty. Hardship and suffering are big shockers! We become disillusioned so easily. We give up after so few reps when there is a lifetime ahead of us that requires army-grade strength. The enemy of your soul has been training for centuries, and though we know Jesus triumphs over him, though we know how the story ends, don’t you want your life to count? Do you want to constantly be going to the back of the formation while others fight on the front line? The scripture in Romans talks about choosing to be joyful NOW and reveling in your sufferings – why? Because of what that can produce in you. Because of how spiritually ‘ripped’ you can get through hardship. When you trust God to the point where you can rejoice in suffering just because you know that He is with you – imagine what a huge blow to the enemy that is! Imagine how much glory God gets from that!
Our circumstances aren’t going to change with us whining and moaning. We must allow God to change us…to do a transformative work in us, in order to navigate life’s circumstances with victory. Begin to see hardship as a blessing – a wonderful opportunity to build strength and endurance, character and unwavering hope. As you are guided by your personal trainer, the Holy Spirit, He will help you to develop correct form and ensure that you are working all the necessary areas, not just focusing on the easy ones. He will ensure total spiritual fitness if you are willing to follow His lead. If you are willing to push and to press.
In order to keep challenging yourself physically so you don’t plateau, you add more weight, more resistance, you change your workout. So it is spiritually. Stop looking for the thing that worked 2 years ago, 2 months ago, to work in your current situation. God is calling you higher. To a new place of strength where you will be trained to serve and protect, to uphold His law, to fight on the front line on behalf of your brothers and sisters in Christ. He is training you to withstand the challenges of life and to pull others from the flames they can’t see. To a place where you are able to dodge the enemy’s bullets in what seems like ‘Matrix-type’ ease. It isn’t ease in your own strength, but anointing. It’s authority and fortitude that comes through training.
God is calling you to a place where you triumph IN troubles and rejoice IN suffering. No longer waiting, panting to be released but understanding that this training is necessary for where He is taking you. God wants us to begin to see the value in spiritual training. He wants to bring about a new level of maturity, and strength of character where we find our joy and hope in all that has already been done by Jesus on the Cross and nothing else.
Love & Blessings,