Continued from here.
As any bodybuilder will tell you, muscles grow through resistance. If you can easily lift 50 lbs and your workout consists of lifting 40 lb weights, you are not going to develop more muscle mass. Instead, you need to lift a heavier weight … perhaps 60 lbs … and works your muscles to build muscle mass. Once lifting 60 lbs becomes easy (or less hard), it’s time to build up to 70 lbs … and then 80 lbs. It’s in the resistance that muscle mass is built.
The same holds true for building spiritual muscle. It takes no effort to cease complaining and express gratitude when everything is going your way. When it’s your birthday and everyone you love is throwing you a big party, with the day being all about you, it’s not going to take much effort not to complain. However, when you have a day as I described in my last blog entry – where nothing is going your way – much spiritual muscle is required to choose to cease complaining and express gratitude. So, when we make a decision to grow spiritually, we can expect resistance because that’s how spiritual muscle is developed.
The resistance has multiple purposes. The enemy’s purpose is to get you to quit. By nature, people care more about their own comfort than they do about growing, so when the enemy sees a Christian seeking to grow spiritual muscle, he throws as much “weight” onto the bar has he can to entice him to quit. He knows that once you have experienced some success, you will be able to use that success to help keep you motivated to move forward. However, if he can get you to throw up your hands and say, “It’s not use,” in the beginning, then you won’t grow.
God allows this interference for a couple of reasons. One is to provide you with the environment necessary to grow spiritual muscle. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, how does one learn patience without having to wait? Patience is a fruit of the spirit, but you cannot develop it when everything goes your way. If you never have to wait in line or have to deal with someone who is annoying, how can you develop patience? Patience is not needed when everything goes your way – its presence or absence is only revealed in environments in which nothing is going your way. Thus, to develop patience, God must allow you to walk into numerous situations in which nothing is going your way.
I’ll discuss the other reason in my next blog entry.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding a heart with lots of muscles. Courtesy Bitmoji.]