A few years ago I was treated to membership at a local country club. Entering reception for the first time I remember being warmly greeted by the receptionist, and shown into the lovely bar and restaurant which opened out onto a terrace overlooking the gardens. I imagined taking a seat on the terrace with a cool drink and doing nothing.
But the friend who took me had other ideas, and I found myself being swept past the lovely terrace and gardens and into the gym for a gruelling work out. After half an hour I stumbled out of the gym barely able to walk and sank gratefully into the jacuzzi, hoping I’d never have to do it again. But I did, and over time I learned to appreciate the pain of the workout as much as I did the pleasure of sitting on the terrace.
The worst mistake we can make is to think that Jesus loves us so little that he accepts us just as we are but then leaves us that way. He may be the smiling receptionist who offers salvation and welcomes us into God’s family, but he’s also the personal trainer who gets us in the gym to work out our salvation and be changed into His likeness.