All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize. 1 Corinthians 9:25

Are you a self-starter when it comes to going to the gym?  Honestly, I’m not.  I purposely need to make a workout date with a friend, to keep me from rescheduling or postponing the inevitable, productive pain that comes from a good workout at the gym.

We’ve all heard the saying “no pain, no gain” and it’s true.  If we want to strengthen our physical muscles, we need to put them to work, and sore muscles indicate progress.

Similarly, when we’re being stretched mentally, our old ideas are challenged and, often, are strengthened by a new perspective. Additionally, when we’re stretched spiritually, our faith in God and His faithfulness grows.

Are you currently being challenged and stretched? God often allows us to experience trials in our lives to strengthen us for the race He has called us to run. Sometimes the obstacles in our race seem much too difficult to overcome. But with God, all things are possible!

God purposefully allows us to have challenges to make us depend on Him and not ourselves. God-reliance instead of self-reliance is His desire for us.  We may think the solution to our problems is solely based on our ability or personal ingenuity. But no amount of striving will budge our obstacles if God is trying to get our attention. The God designed obstacles are “setups” intended to cause us to surrender our struggle over to God and His ability to handle our problems.

Sooner or later we all face obstacles, difficult times, and unmanageable relationships. But these are just the deep knee bends of life.  When it feels like you’re being stretched to the breaking point, don’t give up. See it for what it is ­– preparation for running and winning your God-assigned race.

As children of God, we can be assured that whatever course God puts us on, will ultimately be for our good and His glory.  For “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Are you willing to be stretched?