Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, even the godliest men and women have labored to earn honest wages; build stable, respectable lives; and raise God-fearing children—all by the sweat of their brow (see Gen. 3:16-19).
“Labor” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as an “expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory.” There’s a good reason “labor” is synonymous with “childbirth” and why a national holiday, aptly deemed “Labor Day,” honors those who sacrifice and devote long hours to both contribute to society and strengthen our economy. Labor is, well, laborious.
Even though Adam and Eve’s sin contaminated creation with the toils of the “nine-to-five” and the distresses of carrying and delivering a child, God graciously kept intact a promise of blessing and prosperity to those who work diligently. So while work, whether in a job or in the home, is often stressful, exhausting, and at times, nearly impossible, we can rejoice in the midst of it, knowing that rest and rewards are reserved for the faithful.
After coaching athletes through exceptionally challenging "workouts of the day" (WODs), I often ask them, “So, how do you feel?” I can’t recall a single time when one of them has responded with a negative or remorseful answer. After they’ve caught their breath and sipped some water, they reply with exclamations such as these:
“I feel awesome!” and “I’m so proud of myself! I didn’t think I could do it, and I did!”
Some even go so far as to say they want to do the formerly “killer” WOD again soon! (In those instances, I suspect it’s just the endorphins talking.)
The next time they enter the box and see a formidable-looking workout scrolled across the whiteboard, they think twice before labeling it “Impossible!” Why? Because they’ve proven to themselves that they’re stronger than they think. They’ve proven that hard work yields blessings of confidence, strength, happiness and greater health. They know that if they authoritatively rid their minds of worry, boldly replace all fears with faith and courageously labor to conquer the day’s challenge, they will be victorious.
“ … overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Rom. 8:37, NLT).
In life and in fitness, with our families and with our CrossFit communities, giving 100 percent of ourselves is never a wasted effort. When we strive to honor God by working willingly and wholeheartedly at everything we do, as Colossians 3:23 instructs, the fruit we’ll receive will be sweet, full of life-giving nourishment for mind, body and soul, and we will soon catch our breath, sip some water and proclaim, “I feel awesome!”
Whatever challenge presents itself today, whatever WOD makes you perspire just looking at it, remember that victory, sweeter than any apple the enemy could offer, is waiting for you to bite into it if you would simply trust in Jesus to be your strength.
“You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours” (Psalm 128:2, NIV).
For the original article, visit fit4faith.com.
Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House’s Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman's Guide to Total Fitness. Her popular website can be found at www.fit4faith.com and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana can be reached on Facebook and Twitter.