When you want to get in shape, it’s actually through the process of tearing your muscles down that you build them up. The first day of your workout isn’t so hard. But the next day, you’re in some serious pain. Everything hurts. The next time, you feel weak, but you work out anyway. A couple of days later, you’re still weak and sore, but you’re also a little stronger. You increase the weights a bit, then you do a little more. Pretty soon, you notice that you’re getting stronger. It is through the breaking-down process that the building up comes.
Building Spiritual Endurance
In the same way, we need to build up our spiritual muscles. God allows us to go through difficulties. He increases the weights on us. Pretty soon, we are benching a whole lot more than we ever thought possible. We’re learning more than we ever thought we would learn. We’re doing more than we ever thought we would do. Iron is entering our souls, and we are developing that heroic endurance, perseverance, and strength that only comes through difficulty.
The Bible tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). In the original language, the word used here for patience means, “perseverance,” “endurance,” “steadfastness,” or simply “staying power.”
God has a purpose.
If you find yourself going through a time of testing and trial, realize that God has a purpose in it. Most likely, He is preparing you and training you today for what He will do in your life tomorrow.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. (Romans 5:3-5, Phillips)