“Created in Christ Jesus for good works…” – Ephesians 2:10
“Work now, rest later!” This is a common quote found in the fitness community. Hard work is praised. Rest is minimized. But in God's law, how is work and rest legislated? Does it matter how hard we work?
The Bible is unique in its characterization of work. It is neither glorified nor considered evil. Work was part of creation before sin entered the world. This means work has its place in lives directed toward pleasing God. The joy of hard work is a gift from God. (Ecclesiastes 3:13)
In the creation, God worked and He prescribed man to work. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15). But God knew work could become a way of glorifying ourselves, so he prescribed rest. Referring to the creation story, God instructed His people to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work.” (Exodus 20:8-10)
How can we know if our work honors God? And how can this apply to our training? We see three principles in Scripture that lead to honoring God in through our work.
1- We honor God when our work is personal. Work hard in what YOU can do. Don't compare yourself to others. Be the best you can be. “There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways…” (1 Corinthians 12:5-6)
2- We honor God when our work is missional. Work hard for the purpose of helping OTHERS. Train to live. Don't live to train. Consider how your training can help your family, your job, and the world around you. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
3- We honor God when our work is worship. When we train for the glory of God, we leave the results up to Him. If we trust Him with our work, we trust Him with the results.
When we follow these principles we are motivated to work hard, but we are reminded it's okay to rest. This will prevent us from over-training and under-training. Our training is not a way to validate ourselves but an avenue to give glory to God.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)
1 – How has comparison to others led you to over-train? To under-train?
2 – How has self-centeredness in your training led you to over-train? To under-train?
3 – What keeps you from resting in your training?
4 – How can you worship God through training hard? Through resting from training?