By Robert Bember
Senior Communications Advisor
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
During my church’s recent vision sermon, the pastor shared his desire for the church to get tougher. As he described the process of the church growing larger, stronger and tougher, it struck a personal chord with me. What does it mean to be spiritually tough when the Gospel makes it clear that I’m victorious in Christ?
I have historically hung my hat on toughness. As an athlete, I wanted to be the one to outwork and outlast both my teammates and my competition. Rub some dirt on it. Play through the pain. Finish. I’ve placed a lot of pride in that (likely too much).
However, that toughness was recently tested as the Lord pushed me well outside of my comfort zone. I’ll be the first to admit that I was a wreck for a number of days. I spent a week losing the war for my mind. I was not myself at all. I began to see that as I wavered in one area I began to do so in others. I was weak.
When the pastor began talking about toughness, I felt the Lord smack me across the face. Get tough. Now. He was faithful to shine a light on darkness in my heart and spark a renewed attitude of resilience.
The Gospel is beautiful, Jesus is our Savior and the Spirit is at work in our lives. However, Scripture makes it clear that we will have no shortage of battles to fight and will daily have to put in great effort to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Jesus.
Peter says in 2 Peter to make every effort add to your faith virtue, godliness, knowledge and so on. Paul calls us to train our bodies for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). The author of Hebrews goes as far as pointing out that we have not yet resisted to the point of blood (Hebrew 12:4). To think that Scripture doesn’t call us to scratch, claw and fight for our holiness is folly.
If you want to get stronger, get tougher. In the weight room, results don’t happen in the first two sets. You get stronger on the final reps of the final set where toughness has to kick in to keep you from racking the weights when you’re worn down.
We must finish our sets spiritually. Power through the final reps and start to reap the fruit. Don’t just allow a habitual sin to be less habitual but kill it (Romans 8:13). Don’t just schedule quiet times, but fight for intimacy with the Lord when the plan breaks down. Don’t just believe a truth but stand firm on it.
Get tough. Now.