Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4

A common word we like to use in sports is grind. “Keep grinding!”, “Enjoy the grind!”, and “Grind it out!” are all phrases I have heard and have said to encourage other athletes. The idea is that whatever you’re going through–a hard workout, a slump, or maybe an injury–there will eventually be a breakthrough or meaning for all of it. In other words, why persevere through the trials if it’s all meaningless? The ability to keep grinding is really what sets athletes apart from one another.

I imagine James saying, “Enjoy the grind,” in his letter to the church. Although the persecution our brothers and sisters faced was a little more severe than what we go through as athletes, we all know the enemy loves to attack us when we are going through tough stretches. The enemy fills us with lies, self-doubt, and insecurity, causing us to play with the belief that we aren’t good enough, don’t belong, or will never make it.

This is where the Christian athlete is built different. We are not left alone to battle those attacks with a false sense of pride or security, for we have been given the Spirit of God. We persevere, or better yet, grind it out with joy and hope because we know that our God is with us through the trials. Not only is He with us, but He will use all that we go through for our good and His glory. Truly we can proclaim, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

  • Reflect on the trials in your life. What lies are you believing?
  • Trust God’s promise that He is always with you.
  • Pray that He would give you strength and hope to persevere.