As a former athlete I can attest that this statement is very much true. There is a great deal of pain involved in the training, practicing, and competing in sports. There is pain found in losing, injury, and disappointment. One would think with that amount of pain it seems ludicrous to keep doing! After all, our mom teaches us to take our hand away from the hot stove so we don’t get hurt not press it in harder! Yet in athletics we keep going through this pain for one reason…to win…to succeed…to conquer…to gain. The feeling of victory is such a unique taste. A mixture of euphoria, intensity, and sweat that keeps you coming back for more, but to get there you will face challenges and pain is sure to be it’s co-pilot.
The ultimate question then is this: “Is it worth it?”
The Christian life is truly no different.
As a Believer we see that there is a great deal of pain involved with following Christ. Paul is very clear in 2 Timothy 3:12 when he says, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (emphasis mine). Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble.” (emphasis mine) We see time and time again where the ways of the world and the ways of God are oil and water towards each other. We know there is gain found in God, but the pain that it takes us to get there is hard work. God is crystal clear in his Word that being a Christian is difficult in a sin-filled world.
Yet Paul encourages us to stay strong and continue to push forward despite this pain. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5). We need to remember one very important fact as we battle through this life as a Christian.
We have already won.
I think we forget that while as we get mired down in the chaos of our life and can’t see a foot infront of us because of all the junk around us. We lose sight that the ultimate battle is not with breaking up petty Facebook rants between friends, keeping our kids from looking a porn, or enduring your crummy boss that needs to shower more, but between the forces of evil that want to kill and ravage our souls. That is the important conflict that is at war within the world and which God has called us to enter into as His soldiers.
But we must remember that the battle has been won. Jesus has overcome it all. This includes the reality of death that haunts us all which can no longer keep us up at night. At the end of the this painful life we will be victorious and achieve the reward that God has prepared for His children. Again, Paul gives us this beautiful imagery of what it looks like to attain this glory after a long hard journey.
“I have found the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longer for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
So keep pushing forward my friends and don’t let this world get you down. It is our mission field, but it is not our home. Home is where our heart is and our heart belongs to Jesus in a far better place.
Never fear the pain because the gain is worth it in the end.