No Strain No Gain

There is a principle in body building that says if you want to continue to develop you have to avoid plateau. Plateau is basically what it sounds like, it is where you level out and you are neither going up nor going down. If we look at God as our trainer with a goal of bringing us up to His level of spiritual fitness it becomes clear that we need to avoid plateau. We need constant growth. Most people will be quick to tell you that they are a work in progress however there is no progress at plateau. To be truthful, most people are working hard to reach plateau. The goal of most people is to reach and maintain a comfortable living. Comfort implies no strain. If we live to avoid strain consequently we will adopt a life style that stunts our spiritual growth. Jesus teaches that we enter the kingdom through much tribulation. Our trainer is just being straight forward with us. He is saying if you want the gold it’s going to cost you. I’m sure any gold medalist can share a lot about the tribulation experienced on the path to the podium. A Christian seeking a life style of comfort will often find life to be very disruptive. How many times have you heard people say, “If it’s not one thing it’s another”?

Potential is measured by work. If we want to discover our true potential then we have to be prepared to work it out. Rest is a vital part of development but we have to rest knowing it is only to recover for the next set of circumstances. We have to also trust that our trainer knows how much we can bear. If He says one more set, be confident you can get through it. I have not always lived with this perspective but I am quickly coming to terms with it. After walking with the Lord for many years I am yet finding deeper levels of surrender to the direction of His spirit. The more in sync I live with God, the less I feel my life is being disrupted and the less I feel that God moves in mysterious ways. I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be a growth factor in my life challenging me to leave my comfort zone and stretching me beyond the reaches of my perceived limits.

There are so many planning guides that tell you to set realistic goals for your life but realistic according to whose ability. I am willing to bet there is a huge difference between the goals we often set and what we can really achieve through faith in God. I am learning to choose not based on the level of difficulty but according to the true yearnings of my heart. God has promised that He would give me the desires of my heart; this means He will also give me the ability to do what is necessary to obtain them. Complacency comes from being motivated by self-satisfaction however when we live to please God we will push through plateau to reach that higher ground. God says we need to be either hot or cold because he will reject us if we are warm. That warm place is plateau.  I have begun to garner a whole new appreciation for the refining fires that purify me and bring me closer to my heart’s desires. We must live courageously in order to please God and reach the fulfillment that lies beyond the plateau.

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