Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
How many of you like to work out? You might take one look at me and assume I lift weights every day, but actually I just look this way naturally. (I hope you picked up on my sarcasm.) However, there were a few months in high school when I remember regularly lifting weights.
You see, in high school, I never wanted to ride the bus home. I had a friend with a car who offered to drive me home, but there was a catch: I had to lift weights with him every day after school. I decided my dislike of the school bus was greater than my dislike of lifting weights, so I took him up on his offer.
I can still remember what it all felt like. We ran for a little while, stretched for a little while, and then started the weight lifting program…curling, bench pressing, and squats. Twenty-four hours after that first workout, I was in agony. I could barely walk up the stairs. I needed help getting my shirt over my head. I was in excruciating pain. I was a mess!
Why did that first workout hurt so bad? Because I was using weights I wasn’t used to. The weights which were actually designed to help me were causing me more pain.
The thing is, I really didn’t want to ride the bus, so day after day I kept going back to lift weights with my friend. I continued to feel the pain of the weights, but my friend was there to motivate me. Lifting the weights got easier and easier as the days went on. I learned a great lesson that semester: as I continued to persevere, the pain subsided and the process of strengthening occurred.
Hopefully you are able to see the connection between our physical development and our spiritual development. The trials of life often put a heavy weight upon us, but our Heavenly Father encourages us to press on and persevere. If you don’t quit, you’re going to see muscle where flab had been, and you’re going to see spiritual development where laziness had occurred!
Trying new things can be challenging, breaking unhealthy habits can be difficult, and hard seasons of life can be testing. Yet our Heavenly Father encourages us to hang in there because perseverance must run its course so you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything!