Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Shepastor: "Spiritual Muscle Mass"

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Struggle...if we are honest, no one likes to struggle. In modern day societies, we have done all that we could to avoid struggle. We relish the conveniences of life...cell phones, remote controls, all aspects of the speed of social media, motorized walkways in airports, microwaves, laparoscopic surgery... The list of the advances that have been made to minimize struggle, whether intellectual or physical, is long and varied.

Some of our conveniences have done us more harm than good. Our children are fighting obesity because many are working their fingers on the iPod, rather than playing outside until the street lights come on. Fast food is preferred frequently over prepared home meals (for some this is due to economics. For many, it's just easier). We and our children drive most places instead of walking. Diseases are on the rise amongst many because of a lack of physical exercise. Avoiding the struggle sometimes does us more harm than good.

Life, however, is still filled with struggles that cannot be removed by microwaves or smart phones. As much we despise struggle, it is one of the greatest tools that God allows in our lives to build our spiritual muscle mass. The Apostle Paul had this to say about trials,

but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope...

Consider our forbears, how they endured painful realities, few if any conveniences, hard work, minimal, low or no pay, yet they endured and had a faith that they passed down to future generations. It is an undeniable truth...struggle develops endurance. The struggle of the caterpillar in the cocoon produces the strength of the butterfly's wings so it can fly. The struggle of the mother pushing the baby through the birth canal and the struggle of the baby to endure squeezing through the narrow birth canal helps prepare the baby's lungs to breathe.

The struggle athletes endure during training prepares them to excel during competition. Struggle, though not desirable strengthens us to scale higher heights, push through seeming impossibilities and overcome the vicissitudes of life. Each victory helps you to win the next. Each time we overcome, we are strengthened to meet the next challenge.

Because God helped you through "that," you face with greater hope and faith the mountains yet to be climbed. Struggle increases hope. Struggle increases faith. Struggle increases endurance. Do we like it, NO WAY! Do we need it? Absolutely! The great news is that The Lord has promised to be with us in the struggle.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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