Exercise hurts. It makes you walk funny. It makes you think about putting rails up on the walls in your bathroom to make sitting down easier. You might be in the best shape you’ve ever been in but the day after a tough work out, you’re moving around like you’re in your 90s and people are asking you if you’re okay.
It may not look like it but you are.
The pain is a sign that you’re doing it right. Muscles are growing. You are being stretched. You are getting stronger.
Sitting on the couch watching other people work out usually isn’t all that painful. We’ve all eaten a few pints of ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser. It gives us all of the benefits of working out with none of those painful side effects. Okay, so you really don’t get any of the benefits of working out but you do get to eat ice cream so you’ve got that going for you.
Being serious about following Christ will cost you. It might cost you a job promotion because there are just some things that you won’t do. Your kid might miss out on starting in his baseball game because you’re trying to teach him that commitment to his church family is more important than seven weeks of practices at 10:00 on a Sunday mornings.
It could be even worse. Your devotion to Christ might mean that you get sued. Or that you lose your job. Or your life.
You’ll wonder if you’re okay.
It may not feel like it but you are.
The pain is a sign that you’re doing it right. You are being stretched. You are growing. You are knowing Christ’s strength better. Your faith is getting stronger.
Suffering and hardships are inevitable for Christians. Well, except for those who are content with the spiritual equivalent of laying on the couch and eating ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser and waiting for Jesus to come back. But that’s not Christianity. Genuine faith, like the human body, is meant to move.
Following Jesus can be painful. But hang in there. The pain means that you’re doing it right. And the pain won’t last forever.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12 (ESV)