No Pain, No Gain

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Have you ever watched the Olympics? What is your favorite event? How do you think those athletes made it to the games? I’m sure some of it was a natural talent, but I am also sure that no matter how much natural talent you have you can’t make it to the Olympics watching reruns on late-night TV.

These athletes put in many grueling hours to train for their particular event. While their parents are supportive of their desire to win, these athletes are not there because their Mom or Dad is making them train. No, to get to be this good, you have to make yourself work at it.

Many people want a good life. They want a nice car, a good home, and a loving spouse. Yet, some people aren’t willing to put in any effort to achieve those goals. They’re like the couch potato with dreams of being an Olympic gymnast. Though it would seem wonderful to have every desire fulfilled, God did not make the world operate in this fashion. We have to work for the things that we want. We even have to work for our basic necessities (II Thessalonians 3:6-13).

Life is often hard and many of the things we want can only be achieved by hard work. God did not set it up this way to be cruel to us; instead, God recognized that for people to improve, they have to have discipline in their lives (Hebrews 12:6-13). The athlete does not build muscle sitting around the house, and the Christian does not develop spiritual character without having to overcome difficulties. Sure, hard times are rarely fun, but the people who conquer difficulties become better people for having worked to overcome them.

However, just like the athlete, people cannot reach their full potential if they only work when someone makes them move. To be the best requires self-discipline – a drive from within yourself to improve yourself, even when it is not fun (I Corinthians 9:24-27).

For Further Study

Verses to Consider

  • Genesis 12:1-7
  • Genesis 21:1-7
  • Genesis 22:1-18
  • Deuteronomy 8:2-3
  • Deuteronomy 32:13-18
  • Joshua 1:2-9
  • Proverbs 13:24
  • Proverbs 19:27
  • Proverbs 29:15
  • Zechariah 13:7-9
  • Luke 22:31-33, 60-62
  • I Corinthians 10:13
  • II Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Hebrews 12:1-14
  • James 1:2-4
  • I Peter 1:6-9

Questions to Ponder

  1. Look at Romans 4:16-24. Was Abraham always strong in faith? How do you suppose Abraham became the father of faith?
  2. When Israel wandered in the wilderness, what did it prove? To whom was this proved?
  3. Was the land of Canaan given to the Israelites or did they have to contribute to its take-over?
  4. Do a little research. Can you simply pick up chunks of gold from the ground? How is gold extracted from ore? What is the difference between smelting and refining?
  5. Will God allow a trial beyond our ability to handle?
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