Have you ever been around a really smart kid who is lazy? They haven’t had to work hard at their studies because it all came easy for them, so they never appreciate the accomplishment of those good grades…
I have noticed this in the martial arts as well. Students who have a natural athleticism are not usually the best students. They take their skill for granted, they don’t work hard, and they don’t usually last long. The student who comes in and struggles with it, who has to work hard at everything to get it, who doesn’t quit, learns more and accomplishes more. I have often said that the reason I made it to black belt is because of stubbornness and the refusal to quit; it had nothing to do with my ability to do karate. It is a rare student who is both gifted and who works hard, and that is the one who will go on to become truly great.
As I thought about these things I realized that struggle and difficulty are what grow character in us. Comfort and ease make us lazy. Look at the generation that came out of the depression, or WWII, or go back further to the revolution. Those people had character. Look at people today. We have commercialism and entertainment. We have no work ethic. We are the “ME” generation who cares only about itself. We are neither productive nor happy.
Scripture tells us that struggle, the fight, is what grows us up to be mature Christians. That blessing comes through persecution and difficulty.
Romans 5:1-5 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
You see, struggling through something, whether it is suffering a hardship or learning a difficult task, produces perseverance. Perseverance says “I won’t quit.” Then comes character followed by hope. It’s not supposed to be easy. We were not made for a life of ease; we were made for challenge, we were made for work. Only then can we develop into the person God desires us to be. Only then will we be satisfied with our lives.
Rebecca A Givens, 02/2009