Have you ever lifted weights? Progressive resistance is what causes the muscles to develop and strengthen. We start where we’re at. What I mean is, if we can only lift 15 pounds to start with, start with that. Too often, especially with guys, we bite off more than we can chew, that’s when injury happens. But it’s progressive resistance that causes us to grow properly.
No one likes difficulty. NO ONE. You’re not alone. But if we don’t take an active role in our personal development, no one can help us. The world is unkind, even cruel at times, no one can stop that, but through Christ Jesus we can overcome.
Tests and trials come to everyone. Fear, anger, disappointment, depression, bitterness, sinful temptations, haughtiness, and other works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19–21) have to be dealt with by all of us. They are not from God (James 1:14) and they must be resisted. If we don’t resist them, they overtake our lives and become even more difficult to resist. But we must start where we’re at, and our “faith muscles” will develop until we can overcome the pressure.
Spiritually, our faith in God’s word strengthens as we begin to exercise it. Faith comes by knowing what God says (Romans 10:17), but it doesn’t develop properly if we don’t use it. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:1–4).
“Tribulations” in and of themselves are meant to bring destruction and death. As we learn what Jesus has done for us (which is the grace of God), we can apply it to our lives and develop an overcoming character. An inward peace and hope is the reward.
Just as regular physical exercise can be monotonous and challenging, but rewarding when accomplished, so spiritual exercise is similar. And just like being in a friendly gym with likeminded others who share knowledge and experience, fellowshipping with likeminded and experienced believers helps us maintain motivation and assists in our spiritual development.
I encourage you not to give up. Jesus is the answer and will give you wisdom and strength for the challenges of life. Stay in His word and fellowship with others of strong character and maturity.
Stay strong and prepared.