Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.–James 1:2-4
Life demands toughness. I thought it was tough being a student. Then I got a real job. Tough! I thought it was tough playing in the NFL. Then I got married. Tough! I thought it was tough being married. Then I had kids.
One of the great lessons sports can teach us is how to be tough. But it’s not about toughness alone. Some of the toughest people I know are homeless. They are tough but without a purpose. James 1:2-4 refers to toughness with a purpose. Being a complete player or Christian is not about performance as much as about relationship. If we are rightly related to Christ, He will show us His plan and His toughness will carry us through pain and struggles. The key to being tough is keeping our eyes on the prize. For athletes, it’s the ring. For Christians, it’s the Lord saying, “Well done!”
Tough is doing what you are asked to do. Jesus tough is playing to the level of your coach’s vision for the team. Tough is playing with pain. Jesus tough is allowing your teammates to challenge you to play above the pain. Tough is receiving criticism for making a mistake. Jesus tough is admitting you were wrong without excuses. Tough is suffering the consequences of bad choices. Jesus tough is accepting responsibility for bad choices and learning from them. Tough is being a leader on the field. Jesus tough is being a leader in every area of life.
1. What “tough” situations have you experienced?
2. Did you rely on God during those experiences?
3. How do you plan to become “Jesus tough”?
Extra Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 11:22-29; Philippians 3:8-14
Lord, I don’t pray for an easy life. I pray to become strong for Your service. Amen.