Years ago I went on a bike ride with my wife and a group of friends. We rode about 20 miles away, and I was so full of energy that I passed everyone. Then we reached our destination, and I was exhausted. It was so bad that someone had to push me back with their bike.
Sometimes in the Christian life, we start off with a burst of energy, but then we start slowing down. Some even abandon the race altogether.
Hebrews 12 tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (verse 1 NKJV). Endurance is translated from the Greek word hypomonē, which means “perseverance,” “endurance,” “steadfastness,” or “staying power.” It’s a steady determination to keep going. Sometimes in the race of life we’re a little tired—or maybe really tired. And the hypomonē, the endurance, presses us on.
We need endurance. But where do we get it? James 1 gives us the answer: “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (verses 3–4 NLT).
The testing of your faith produces this strength. It’s like going to the gym. You tear your muscle down in order to build it up. Someone might add more weight to your bench press or whatever you’re lifting, and you may have to lower your reps a little. But then you find you can do it.
In the same way, God puts weights in our lives. We don’t want those weights, those problems. But God is toughening us up. He’s getting us ready for something that is yet to come. Trials are like God’s gym. He’s using them to make us stronger.