Do you know about the perfect workout? Sure you do! It’s the one we all imagine in our heads. We get up early and have a strenuous, full body workout with planks, crunches, pull ups and a 3-mile cool off run. We are left feeling energized and ready to tackle the day. We are a sweaty mess, but our sweat doesn’t even stink! Outside of our imagination, however, lies the reality of aches and pains, lack of motivation and the dread of the chin up bar or any other instrument of self-inflicted torture. We know full well the meaning of the cliché, “No pain, no gain.”
What good is exercise without resistance? Increased resistance will increase the potential benefit. Our bodies are built up by exerting energy against resistance. This is true of our faith as well. We exercise our faith by facing circumstances that resist our faith. Many times in life we must stretch the muscles of belief and trust, though they may still be sore from the previous trial – I’m looking at you chin-up bar! Ecclesiastes 1:13 “And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.”
This spiritual exercise comes with the reward of maturity and discernment. Hebrews 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” The same old, adage applies, “no pain, no gain”. Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” There are no saints that we revere who have not been fashioned on the anvil of adversity. – Dan Anderson
We love those who have withstood adversity. Admiration is extended to those who have borne the burden of resistance. We cheer for the underdog who rises victorious. We rejoice with those who overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. This is what makes the hall of faith in the 11th chapter of Hebrews so compelling to consider. A purple participation ribbon doesn’t garner the same jubilance as a hard-fought win. Adversity sweetens the victory. Resistance conquered is cause for celebration and we all appreciate the benefits of exercise for our bodies as well as our faith.