The sweet smell of mowed hay wafted about, very pleasing to one’s sense of smell. A bee or two droned lazily from the occasional clover, gathering its food. Today was quite warm, with only a faint breeze; it would be a good day to relax or go swimming, but that mustn’t be. The work that soon would come would not be nearly so blissful.
Soon the faint rumbling of an engine could be heard rattling down the road. The long-awaited tractor finally pulled into the drive. Soon, the hum of the baler would begin, and then it gathers up the dried grass in order to form it into bales. The operator set the machine and began driving over the freshly raked hay rows. Bales began to form lines across the field.
20, 50, 100.
We still had a long way to go, the trailer only had that many bales on it. Sweat only began to soak the clothes of the workers as they heaved the 70 pound bales up. Persevere to the end we must!
300, 550, 700.
Finally! The trailers started to look full, and the day was starting to draw to an end. Over six hours of hard labor, roasting in the heat and humidity. Sweat drenched the workers’ clothes now, completely soaking them. Exhausted, they took a short break to rehydrate and rest. Their hands covered in blisters and their clothes slightly torn. Onward! They must finish the job! Even though they feel like dropping down from exhaustion, they have a goal, a purpose, and mission to drive them on. They fought the exhaustion and the pain to accomplish what they set out to do.
The Christian life can sometimes be like this when we feel beat down by circumstances and the pressures of life. Every little thing that doesn’t seem like much, adds up, exhausting us. The pressures that culture creates are enough to crush one’s spirit. Always being encouraged to sin and follow the road that leads to destruction by people who lack understanding of godliness, it can be a temptation to do these things in order to “fit in”. The indecency, the greed, the bitterness, the selfishness…all these things are burdens to us that hinders our walk with Christ.
Often, we develop blisters on our hearts. Blisters of remorse over the things we failed to do, or regret of the things we did. The burning pain sometimes causes us to retreat into a murky bog of self-pity and depression. We must learn to move past this skin-deep pain and live for something greater than ourselves. The pain lasts but a short time, and because we have been washed of our sin in the blood of Christ, we have all of eternity to look forward to. We must endure to the end.
The sensation of our spiritual muscles being exercised does not feel pleasurable either, yet we must allow God to train us to be able to fight the good fight. In 1 Timothy 6:12, we are called to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” We must persevere during our time here on earth and fight against the urge to drop down from exhaustion. Training to fight never will be easy. A good fighter must persevere through much pain in order to be a good fighter; he or she doesn’t become good from sitting on a couch watching television. One must face the trials presented by the coach to gain strength, endurance, and resist the tendency to quit.
Sometimes the training seems dull and boring, such as is the case in “average” people’s lives. The training may come in forms similar to stacking hay, a dull heavy labor without much excitement. Yet, as our Heavenly Coach knows this is necessary to teach us to endure anyway. Some of us are mothers, having to clean up after the family and cook day after day. Some of us are fathers, having to work an unfulfilling job that pays just enough to make ends meet. And yet others are young and just beginning life, studying and working, preparing for the world but seeming to get nowhere fast. In all these things, we are being taught to persevere no matter what, so that our spiritual muscles will develop.
Matthew 10:22- “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
We know from this verse that once we become Christians that there will be many trials to face, but we know from Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” With God as our coach, He knows exactly what we need to work on to become successful fighters. We can endure to the end not because we are strong enough on our own strength, but because Christ is with us and has given us strength in His grace and mercy.
Let us fight the good fight to the end! Pull on your gloves, and live in the strength of God, being nourished in the Word and be built up in love of Christ. Onward! This shall be our cry, for the kingdom of God is near. Pain cannot stop us, nor can the heat from the pressure of the crowds. Onward!
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To those who follow or read my blog, the author also blogs. I have gotten acquainted with her and will say that she has a lot of wisdom that many older people take far more year to acquire, IF they ever do. Please, take time to look at her blog as well. unconqueredfaith.wordpress.com