Spiritual Growth Is Work

I ran a 5k Saturday morning and had fun and did well. My son and wife came and cheered me on. At the end of the race my boy said he would like to run the race next year. We told him that running a race requires practice. “OK.”

Later that afternoon my wife was going for a walk/run and said to my boy, “Would you like to run with me?”

Guess what his answer was? Go on. Guess.

“No, I don’t feel like it.”

Running is much more fun in theory than it is in reality. Running can be fun, but usually after a lot of miles have been put in. There is a thing called “runner’s high.” It feels wonderful.

It happens approximately three times a year. Very rarely in a race. Most of the time spent running will hurt and be monotonous. It will take you through much yucky weather and interfere with your schedule and make you smell like a bog.

Thinking about running is more fun than running.

This is the way the mind works. We see cool things and think, “Wow, I’d like to do that.” Then we try it for about 13 seconds and declare, “Nah, never mind. Couch is nice.”

Your Christian growth is the same way. You read the stirring biography of a missionary, “Wow, I’d love to give my life to Christ like that.” Then your kid dumps the can of pens off the counter again and you lecture with anger. “Nah, not cut out for missions.”

It’s amazing to me how many Christians think spiritual growth is automatic. Telling a Christian that growth requires “work” and you’ll probably get a lecture on legalism and how grace is free and comes with no strings attached.

Ah, the pull of the couch.

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”