LISTEN: Love and the Outcome, "He Is with Us "
Each one of us faces challenges, every day. Some of us have enormous challenges -- health issues, relationship problems, financial worries. Choices to make that have the potential to change our lives, our families lives. Some of our challenges are smaller -- but no less important. Getting to a meeting on time. Carving out time each day for prayer. Getting the laundry done. Paying the bills. Running out to get milk. All the tasks, great and small, that go into making our day. Combined together, in our unique lives, it is tempting to be overwhelmed. It can seem like we're running from one task to another, with no break in between. The bills keep coming. One problem resolves, another one surfaces.
While we can rearrange our priorities, and let go of some projects, but life will challenge us. Whether we know it or not, we are in the Abundant Life Gym, with a lifetime membership. God is our personal trainer and there's no coping out. We can choose not to work out, ignore the advice, but it's always there, waiting for us. If we took an inventory, we might discover we've gotten flabby in faith, our trust muscles ache from underuse, we're rusty in forgiveness, and we could use some more reps in kindness. We get out of breathe from lack of practicing patience. God uses the matter of our lives to shape us and tone us into spiritual fitness. Like most good exercise programs, we are required to push ourselves beyond the limit we are comfortable. It's the only way to gain strength and increase endurance. Our spiritual work out functions on a similar premise. However we're not working to fit into that dress or shirt that we wore back in college. We're working out for an "imperishable crown” (1 Cor. 9:24-25), "a crown of glory" (1Peter 5:4).
So the next time something challenging manifests in our lives - let us take a deep breathe, reorient ourselves, and realize it's work out time. The master trainer is there, guiding us, encouraging us, helping us to see that all we do and say matters. It not only makes us spiritually fit and healthy -- but acts as a warm up -- so we can build up the kingdom of Heaven, because we have developed the skills to be courageous, steadfast, and able to carry out the ministry of Jesus in the challenges and opportunities we face in the world.