For a little less than a year I've been working out on what could be called a consistent basis (time off to adjust to baby #3 not counting). This morning after my work out I was in some serious pain. The kind of pain that makes you feel like you tore something internally. As I understand, this pain happens when you've pushed your body to a point of growth. No, I'm not trying to brag about working out. Here's why I mention all this.
Millions, probably even billions of dollars are spent every year on gym equipment, memberships and self improvement. We spend this money intending to bring ourselves to these growing pains. Saying it that plainly sounds dumb but it's true. We spend money, change our schedules and adjust our lifestyle knowing that we're following a painful path with the hope that once we reach that destination, we'll be happier with ourselves.
However, if someone told us they were spending tons of money, changing everything in their life to pursue a painful path toward spiritual improvement (a deeper relationship with God), most of us wouldn't understand and would possibly even try to convince said person of an alternative plan.
Why is it that as Christians, and especially American Christians, we make the assumption that a life pursuing intimacy with Christ should lead to favorable circumstances and easier living? Scripture teaches the exact opposite. Imagine what would happen if we started pursuing Christ with the same dedication and fervor that we pursue self improvement, career advancement or romance. More over, imagine the growth that would happen if we embraced the same principles found in physical improvement as we look to deepen our relationship with God. What if we celebrated the growing pains found in life when we commit ourselves to God's plan for our lives?
What if no pain, no gain was applied to our walk with Christ?