Everywhere you look people are doing painful things with what look like ridiculously heavy weights. Pictures of musclebound superheroes adorn the walls along with gruelling workout summaries and messages designed to be motivational.
Last week I noticed this one: ‘Sore today, strong tomorrow!’
And I thought, fair enough. Often to sustain and enjoy the good things we’ve been given takes some exercise and self-discipline on our part. If we regularly lie on the couch all evening and have a greasy take away at bedtime we shouldn’t be surprised if we get overweight and slow. At the very least to keep our bodies healthy requires a balanced diet and some positive physical activity daily.
Faith puts a lot of emphasis on what God has done for us and given to us in Jesus. We don’t earn salvation with our own efforts at good behaviour but must receive it as a gracious gift from Another. We ‘repent’ of sinful ways and trust in the One Who gave His life on our behalf. We depend on the Holy Spirit to guide and equip us.
But to retain the benefits of God’s grace in an ongoing way we need to commit, to knuckle down, to focus on being a ‘follower’, a ‘disciple’ of Jesus every day. The Bible also teaches believers must ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2 v 12-13). Continuing to trust for His constant help, we are to ‘work out’ the implications of faith in practice!
It may hurt to give up some of our bad habits but we’ll be ‘lighter’, better off without them. It calls for discipline to do ‘spiritual exercises’ like regular praying, reading the Bible and participating in Sunday worship and voluntary service, but we’ll be stronger for it.
Growing up can hurt at times, but it's better than staying in the nursery.
It's how superheroes 'learn to fly'!
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