Focus: Pain and perseverance
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
“No pain—no gain” is something we’ve all heard so many times we don’t think much about the meaning of it anymore. If we do give it a second thought—it is undoubtedly in connection with the kind of pain that comes from trying to get/stay in shape. Anybody who works out knows there is a price attached to having a ‘dream body’. Most people just aren’t willing to pay the price to look like that.
You may not have a weight problem, but stay with me and let’s take a look at some of the benefits of “pain”. Ali Vincent, is just one of a string of success stories from the TV show, “The Biggest Loser”. As a contestant on “The Biggest Loser”, Ali lost 112 pounds in five months. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment. How did she do it? She stuck to a 1,200 calorie daily diet and worked out for five to eight hours a day. Ali had a problem and she found the passion to solve it.
Before Ali started to work toward her goal, she was suffering from the fact her life had gotten out of control. She had lost the will to persevere, her self-esteem was low and she didn’t have a lot of hope. The first thing Ali had to do before she could make any progress was face the fact that solving her problem was going to require some suffering of another kind. That ‘no pain—no gain’ kind of suffering.
As Ali worked with a coach who monitored her progress—she pushed herself diligently toward self-improvement. Through the five months it took to achieve her goal, Ali not only became acquainted with pain—but in the pain, she learned perseverance. She made the discovery that she had to keep moving even when it hurt. Ali came to the realization that if she stopped when she started to hurt—she would never get where she wanted to go. As Ali persevered—her character became stronger. Her determination increased. As her strength of character and determination improved—her ability to ‘hope’ escalated.
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In life—we are going to face all kinds of challenges. Not all of them will be physical. Some emotional challenges can be just as exhausting and painful to overcome as someone who battles obesity. Overcoming an addiction requires extreme willpower and discipline—not to mention the lifelong job of working to stay clean once the dependency has been broken.
But in all cases—the process is the same. Any kind of gain—requires pain. If you want to be an overcomer—you have to be willing to first ‘suffer’.
Knowing that suffering is a part of recovery helps. But, come to think of it–you were suffering during the time that you weren’t working toward recovery, too. The fact is—you are going to suffer one way or the other. You might as well put your suffering and pain toward gain, right?
The thing Ali had to be convinced of was that her life was worth the effort she was going to have to invest in herself to get rid of all that extra baggage she had accumulated. She had to reach a point of knowing that her obesity was complicating her life—not making it better. She had to make a choice that even though she would be facing a lot of very hard work and pain—the outcome would be worth the sacrifice.
I don’t know what kind of battle you are in. Your battle might not be anything like Ali’s. It might be something completely unrelated. But, whatever you’re up against—I know there is a beautiful person inside of you who is a winner, not a loser. You have just as much potential of finding the passion to solve your problem as Ali had.
God is on your side. The pain is worth the gain. You can do this if you don’t give up. The only thing that might stop you, is you. You have come this far. Don’t back down. Stay in the game and win.
Declaration: I will find new strength by pushing past the pain. I will persevere in this battle. With God’s help—I will win.