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But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV

No pain, no gain! We are all familiar with this very famous phrase. It refers to physical pain to gain muscle mass.  We all experience it at one point in our lives. Professional athletes and body builders all talk about it. But as we get older, our bodies are not as responsive as when we were younger.

Our physical pain can be different due to certain life circumstances. I recall after my accident, I engaged in a Physical Therapy (PT) program. PT began at the Rehab Center and continued after I returned home. In rehab I began using muscles that had been injured in my accident to help them function again. I was in pain while I was going through my PT sessions.

When I returned home I enrolled in Physical Therapy twice a week. As time went on I felt more pain rather than less pain. All of my exercises were tailored and focused on my type of injuries and also to address the range of motion and strength through healing. In particular my ankle muscles were stretched in ways that had not been stretched for a long time. I could not stand up and sit down without grasping a table and sank into living room chairs from which I could not stand without help. I could not twist my body to look at objects to the side and behind me. I could not pedal a stationary bike for long times or with high resistance.

To walk I needed a cane or walker for balance. The only reason I continued was that other measures gave indications of improved strength. Muscle grip strength in my left arm improved from 10 lbs. to nearly 50 lb. Also I was able to walk further and faster than I had before and was able to do better in all these exercises tailored to my needs.

So it was with Paul as he used an athletic analogy for his spiritual growth. Like him I needed to discipline my body regardless of pain level. (1 Cor. 9:27) By analogy I needed to discipline my spiritual life also.

Exercise cannot be shoddy.

It will strengthen my weak body.

Pain will result and sometimes sorrow.

But I’ll improve by tomorrow.

Painful spiritual and physical exercise provides strength for tomorrow.


How has painful physical and spiritual exercise benefited you?