Struggle to Strength
Struggle is a word that may bring many different images to your mind some of which may not be pleasant. Perhaps a difficult relationship or a situation at work maybe even a physical struggle due to sickness or an injury.
Years ago my soccer coach used to make us run sprints at the end of practice. Obviously we were tired and worn down, drenched with sweat. But there was a twist to it. We would have to run sprints the length of the field and we would have to do it with a teammate on our back. We would run as hard as we could but sometimes the extra weight would make us 'top heavy' combine that with tired muscles and there were some pretty nasty spills, me included.
One time after completion of this drill when every player was lying on the ground trying to summon up the strength to walk back to the locker room, players started to grumble. "Why are we doing such a dumb drill?" At one point our coach heard this and walked over. "Boys we do drills like this so that when we are in hard games and everyone is tired we will have the strength to play on."
Struggle leads to Strength. It was true our struggles at the end of the those practices grew our mental and physical strength for the season ahead of us.
Facing Your Struggles...
"From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
John 6: 66 - 68.
If you read the book of John the first 5 chapters are really pretty fun to read. Water to Wine, Woman at the Well, Healing at the Pool of Bethesda and the Feeding of the 5000 are staples in any Pastor's preaching catalog. But Jesus ministry in some ways radically changes in John 6. It is easier and certainly more popular to say statements like; "All roads lead to God," but that is simply not true. In John 6 Jesus says that it is only through a relationship with Him that we can have Eternal Life.
Jesus talks about partaking in His "Body & Blood" which is the act of taking Communion. In Galatians 2:20 Paul states:
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Identifying with Christ and talking about God powerfully moving and Heaven is great. At the same time are we willing to focus on the fact that identifying with Christ also means dying to ourselves.
The challenge to live in this world and yet be a follower of Christ is a struggle. However as we die to self and focus on Christ we will grow in our Faith and truly realize that Struggle leads to Strength. Let's persevere together!