Struggles. Resistance. Sin. Temptation. Training. Exercise. Striving. Accountability.
All of these words have been swirling around in my head (things swirl there, I’m abstract and random.) Through various Bible studies and conversations with friends, there is a theme shaping up that I needed to hear, and a recent devotional from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest hit the nail on the head.
My grapes are being squeezed.
Confused? Read the devotional. But if you don’t, basically he is saying that as believers, we go through struggles and challenges, and as we allow God to work through that, and refine our character, we go through a process similar to that of squeezing grapes and allowing them to turn into wine. Beautiful result, so I’ve heard.
Literally nobody on this earth became wise and full of good character, displaying the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control) without dealing with challenges. Being squeezed.
The other day, I was at the beach, our favorite local getaway, and I wanted to exercise. I had missed the ideal tide for swimming laps, as savoring my coffee on the porch had been way too enjoyable. By the time I made it down to the water, it was only calf-deep and my efforts at laps was ridiculous. I decided to walk in the water toward some caves that jutted out. As I walked against the current, there was so much resistance that I got a really good workout. The effort to put one foot in front of the other was tremendous, but that’s why I was there- to exercise. When I turned around and walked back to my children, who were snorkeling around in the tide pools, there was no resistance, and therefore, no gain, from a “get stronger muscles” point of view.
Without the resistance, I wasn’t growing stronger. It wasn’t going to happen in the easy. Only in the striving.
What do these things have to do with each other? Grapes being squeezed and walking against the current?
Read the rest of the post at breatheministry.com, where I’m on a team of writers who aim to encourage wives of pastors and missionaries.
In His Grace,