Scripture says that we are "God's masterpiece" (Eph. 2:10). Each of us is a unique work of the Lord. But the way he is at work cutting and grinding and buffing and polishing me is different from the way he is doing that for you. In both cases, he works slowly and patiently, usually working delicately with small, precise strokes rather than a sledgehammer. So we must be patient. This morning's without at the gym lasted for only 1 hour.
I do this only 3 times a week, for a weekly total of 3 hours.
That's only 3 hours out of 168 hours in a week.
Can anything lasting be accomplished by such a small investment? But think about this: Between now and my hoped-for trip to the Alps next August, there are 9 months. That's a total of 108 workouts in the gym, not counting all the cardio I do the other days of the week. I can't expect to arrive at my goal overnight. All that cutting and shaping that God is doing takes time. Becoming an instant athlete makes about as much sense as becoming an instant heart surgeon. That's why Paul so often speaks about our roots as believers growing down into Christ. It's like planting a crop. Corn doesn't sprout up overnight. It takes work, dedication, sacrifice, self-discipline, and especially time. I don't often get weary in my workouts, but when I do it's usually because I've become impatient. Then I remember how James closes his letter:
You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong (James 5:7-8).
Don't give up. Don't give in. The "fruit" of patience is well worth the wait.