We’ve all seen those videos online where we see individuals using gym equipment and failing terribly. I’ve seen my fair share of ‘fails’, especially in the first two weeks of January. You usually have a wave of people come in with the mantra of “New year, new me,” only to have that resolve dissolve once they realize that the process to change requires real discipline and effort.
The worst I’ve seen in person was a guy in his early 20’s, thin build, attempt to squat about 110lbs. Now to most people who’ve been working out consistently, two 45lbs plates, one on each side of the bar, is just a warm up. But to someone who has just started lifting weights, 110lbs, can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
Anyway, he loads up his bar and the first thing that I notice is that he doesn’t have his safety bars inserted in the squat rack just in case he can’t make it back up. At this point, I had stopped working out to watch him do a rep because this was either going to be a huge accomplishment for him at the gym, or this was going to be a train wreck to which I had the front seats to…minus the popcorn. He then proceeds to put the bar on his shoulders, lifts it up and takes it away from the rack, and starts his first rep.
Will he make it or will he not? We’ll get back to him in a minute.
Now faith, in essence, is exactly like going to the gym. There’s a process to growing your faith in God, just like there’s a process to growing your body in the gym.
No one has the right to say that they’ve gone to the gym for a week and didn’t get the results that they wanted. There’s the process of tearing, and building our muscles, and cutting away the bad dietary habits that we have to go through to get the results that we want. Then and only then, do we start to see results in our bodies. The weight that we were carrying that seemed difficult at first, becomes lighter through discipline. It’s not that the weight itself changed, but because our bodies have gone through a process of growth that’s allowed us to lift things with ease.
In the same way, faith in Jesus requires the same kind of discipline to grow our spiritual muscles. Reading the bible, or praying once or twice, or going to church on special occasions isn’t enough to build those spiritual muscles.
The Bible says, “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 NIV
Life is not meant to be easy. In fact, it seems like the older you get the harder things become. However, it’s the trials in life that build our faith in Jesus, who can only be the solid foundation of our lives. We need the resistance in our lives in order to be mature and complete in this life.
Faith that isn’t tested can’t be trusted.
It takes faith to believe that God would send his only son to die on the cross for our sins. It takes faith to believe that Jesus rose from the grave on the third day so that anyone who was the faith enough to believe in him WILL have eternal life.
It’s this kind of faith that allows you stand in front of your giants and know that it’ll be defeated, because you know that the One who is within you is greater than the one before you. It’s this kind of faith that helps you stand your ground when the storms of life beat against the foundations of your life because you know that with one word the storms will cease.
Without the trials in our lives we lose that process that helps us to persevere and mature in life, which is like going to the gym and using the lightest weights possible and expecting physical growth.
There’s power in the process. There’s strength that comes from accepting that we are weak. There’s power in having the humility to say that we can’t do life in our own strength.
But he(Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
A faith that isn’t tested, can’t be trusted.
So what happened to the guy doing the squat?
He takes the weight off the squat rack and with great posture proceeds to do his first squat. However, instead of stopping where an invisible chair would be touching his butt, he squats all the way down and touches the floor with his butt. As he tries to get back up with the weight, his legs start to wobble and give in resulting in him falling back and his legs coming out in front of him displaying it in a V. And to add insult to injury, instead dropping the weight behind his back, he decides to let the bar roll off the front of his head and onto his legs leaving him looking like he was just flattened by a giant. All this in the span of a few seconds. I rushed over to help him out afterwards, and all he had was a bruised ego and we both laughed afterwards about how crazy that all was.
When we do not go through the process of growth that our physical and spiritual bodies need in order to be mature and complete, then the burdens of life will definitely crush us under the pressure. However, once we’ve taken the steps to train our bodies you’ll find that the same weight that used to give us so much problem becomes easier and easier to carry. It’s not that the burden itself has changed, but because we’ve gone through the process of making ourselves stronger to handle that burden.
There’s power in the process.
Guest Blogger : Timothy Opiniano