Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Truly Powerful Place

In the last couple of weeks I joined a gym.  It’s a good gym, lots of equipment, not too busy and the staff are friendly.  I like going there.  But when I’m working out it hurts.  As I’m trying to lift heavier weights or run faster for longer my body hurts.  As I’m pushing myself and my body I get to a point where I just can’t lift any more or run any longer. 

At the time this doesn’t feel so great.  But it has long term benefits.  See the next time I go to the gym I can lift a little bit more and run a little bit longer.  Being pushed to my limits in the gym, even though at the time sucks, benefits me in the long run.

As I’ve been reflecting on this I’ve realised that this is what being a Christian is like a lot of the time.  This is what being a missionary to your local community is like.  Over the last three or four years I’ve experienced a lot of hard things in life and ministry.  At the time, I haven’t liked it.  I’ve wondered why these things are happening to me.  I’ve whinged and complained and wondered if God was there.  I’ve tried as hard as I can to see things happen or change and I’ve reached the end of my power and ability.

This whole experience has taught me two very important lessons.  Firstly, it shouldn’t surprise us when life as a Christian gets hard.  Jesus said in Luke 9:23 that, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  We are promised to have full and abundant life, but not easy, stress free, perfect life with Jesus.

Secondly, it is only when we’ve reached the end of our ability that we truly open the door for God to start working through us.  Think about it.  If my life as a Christian is easy; If I find it easy to be a missionary to my community or easy to run my youth ministry or church then I’m unlikely to run to God and rely on Him to work and grow his church.  If I go around thinking I’m awesome, that everything I do turns to gold, then there isn’t space in my heart for God to get the glory he deserves.  We plant and water but it is God who gives the growth (1 Cor 3:6-7).

So I’m now glad for the hard things in my life, just like I’m glad to lift weights that are too heavy for me.  For it’s when we are struggling and realise we cannot do it on our own that we get the most benefit and are in a truly powerful place.

Chris BowditchYouth Minister
Holy Trinity Anglican Church

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