Shaping Up in God’s Gym
By Greg Laurie
“But I say to you who hear: Love
your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
When I was a brand-new believer, other Christians warned me, “Greg, you’re
going to go through trials.”
“What do you mean by trials?”
“You’ll know,” they said.
And when the first trial hit, I knew.
Why does God allow trials, tribulation, and hardships in the lives of Christians? James 1:2–4 tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when
you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (verses 2–4 NKJV).
Trials are like God’s gym. When we’re out of shape, for instance, we go to the gym. We have to pace ourselves, and in time we’ll break down muscle and then build it up. And we’ll be stronger as a result.
In the same way, God lets us go through trials to strengthen us. We break down spiritual muscle to build it up.
For example, Moses went into exile for 40 long years. He was a hotheaded man who
took matters into his own hands. Instead of waiting on the Lord’s timing, he killed an Egyptian.
But the Lord re-commissioned him at the burning bush (see Exodus 3), and ultimately, Moses learned
how to deal with people who opposed him.
Does that describe your life today? Are you dealing with people who are critical of you, who are making things hard for you? Have people treated you unfairly?
When this happens, our natural reaction is to hit back—and hit back even harder.
But that isn’t what the Bible tells us to do. Jesus said, “Love
your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27–28 NKJV).
When you do that, you’re acting like true children
of your Father in Heaven.