Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me (Psalm 1387)
No matter who we are, what we do, when or where we do it, we are either making progress, stagnating or moving forward. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul compares moving forward to an athlete preparing for a competition. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadow-boxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
I competed for many years, and then coached for many more. To become better, you have to constantly push yourself to higher heights. Doing the same thing over and over will keep you wherever you are right now. Fitness expert, Fred Devito says it best: If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
Our Christian walk is the same way. As we grow older, the challenges become greater. But so should our ability to cope with them. Trials and temptations are simply one of the means God uses to stretch us into becoming what He wants us to be. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure (I Corinthians 10:13)
And this keeps happening throughout our lives. We never arrive at perfection, not even Paul or any of the other disciples. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13).