Recently I started taking kickboxing classes.
I’ll admit, there has been quite a learning curve for me, catching on to all the different punches and kicks, but after about a month, I think I’m getting it. Not only that- I think I’m actually enjoying it!
There is something therapeutic about being able to punch and kick for an hour straight (sounds like my toddler, right?!).
One day, during the last 5 minutes of class, my instructor said something so profound. She told us to really “push hard.” I looked at myself red-faced in the mirror, determined to finish strong, wondering if I might faint. Then she said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
I almost stopped mid high kick. “God, are you speaking to me during kickboxing?!”
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
I left the room, repeating that phrase to myself and contemplating the implications of that statement, not only for working out, but also for my everyday life.
I’m convinced that true change only comes from Jesus. Only He has the ability to create in us something new and everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).
God pulled the wool back from my eyes in the midst of my “hooks and jabs” that day. I’ve been a follower of Jesus for more than half of my existence but continue to struggle with my perspective on challenges. Often times thinking, “I don’t deserve this,” or “Why is this happening to my family?” “Can’t we just have it easy for once?”
How often do I view a challenging situation as a frustration or an inconvenience?
How often do I whine and complain about how challenging my kids are,
How challenging my current season of ministry or life is,
How challenging my marriage or challenging our world is.
Romans 5:3-5 says, “...we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given us.”
If I really want to change; if I really desire a life of perseverance, proven character and hope; I have to accept the problems and the trials of life, knowing that it is Christ who is working all things for my good and is changing me into His likeness. I have to trust that He is allowing this challenge to produce a change in me.
At times it really stinks.
I want rainbows, lollipops and sunshine all the time.
Honestly, sometimes I don’t even see the need for change. Maybe I like where I am just fine. But, deep down, I know that God says, “He must become greater and I must become less.” And that means I need a whole lot of change.
Whatever challenge you are facing today, let’s choose to view it as an agent of change. God promises that challenges and trials will ultimately produce hope in us, and hope will never disappoint.
Word of the Day:
“...we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given us.” Romans 5:3-5
Jesus, I need you to change my heart. I need you to make me new and refresh my spirit. I know that you use challenges in my life for my good. I trust you, Lord. You are making all things new and preparing me for what is to come. Thank you Lord.
Author: Emily Goss