2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

No Pain, No Gain

Facing the Future

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

“No pain, no gain!” The idea is that hard, painful work will eventually produce gainful results in physical fitness. The phrase was popularized in the 80s by actress Jane Fonda who initiated the aerobics craze with her exercise videos in which she emphasized the workout ethic, “no pain, no gain” and “feel the burn.” In 1758 Benjamin Franklin wrote in, The Way to Wealth, “There are no gains without pains . . .” An older reference dates back to a 1648 poem by Robert Herrick titled “No Pains, No Gains.” Even in the second century, Rabbi Ben Hei Hei stated in The Ethics of the Fathers, “According to the pain is the gain.” The proverb means that, “Only by facing, dealing with, or subjecting ourselves to difficulty can we truly improve or progress in all areas of life.”

Actually, “No pain, no gain” is a Biblical concept. Paul wrote, “Momentarily, light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (NASB) Paul's meaning emphasizes the spiritual concept of delayed gratification. Sin promises gain without pain through instant rewards and short-cuts in the pursuit of happiness and pleasure. But Ray Zaccharias warns that, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” In reality, it is only in our choice to endure the short-term, “light discipline” of obedience that we can experience an eternity of rewards that result in a right standing with God.