We are currently in the middle of the Sochi Winter Olympics. As I’ve been watching these Olympic Games, I’ve thought about the strength that these athletes possess.
Olympians display a specific strength that they’ve developed and honed for a particular event. As we hear their back-stories, we realize how precisely they’ve trained over a long period of time.
Where I went with these thoughts, as I always do, is to the idea of our personal calling. Scripture says that we are to “press on [strenuously pursue] to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Phil. 3:12) So, what was Jesus after and what am I to take hold of? To be an “oak of righteousness, planted by God to display his glory.” (Isa. 61:3)
An other word for glory is strength. We all possess an aspect of the glory of God (a particular strength) that we are to offer to others.
So, how do we develop the strength or glory that God has given us?
You can find some of these answers in the way our bodies develop strength or muscle. Here are a few of those principles:
Lift Heavy and Push to Failure – you must push your muscles with resistance (weight) to the point where they must adapt by getting bigger and stronger.
If we are to develop the glory or strength of our life, we must push beyond our current experience. Not just once, but every time we get to a point of adequacy. What we currently see as the strength, the glory of our life is only a facet, an indication of who we truly are in Christ and what we have to offer.
We are to strenuously pursue, not dabble with our calling.
God is like a personal trainer who is with us in the gym coaxing us to push through the pain and doubt to get to the next level of our potential. There is little growth in the comfort zone and little comfort in the growth zone.
Strength development is Progressive – weight (resistance) should be increased week by week. We must give our body a reason to grow or else it will plateau.
Strength is not acquired in a moment, though acquired strength can be released in a moment. Strength and brilliance (other words for glory) develop over time.
Instantaneous attainment of strength or skill is as unlikely as a someone who’s never skied deciding to try Freestyle Aerial Skiing and on his first run performs a near flawless triple flip with five twists.
You see, the strength that we were created to bring to the world is attained “little by little…until [we] have increased enough to take possession of [it].” (Exodus 23:30) That’s why we are not to “despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10)
Flexibility enhances strength development – as our strength progressively develops we need to continually improve circulation and range of motion in order to reduce pain and soreness and the chance of injury.
As we develop the strength or brilliance that God has give us as a display of His glory, it’s easy to become stiff, unbending, inflexible. As a personal trainer, God helps us stretch so that His life can freely circulate throughout the strength that He has helped us develop. Without flexibility, we will experience unnecessary pain and injury.
Since we have the same personal trainer, I’ll see you in the gym.