Building Spiritual Muscles
I love to exercise. Actually I am not sure “love” is the correct word to use. I find it very hard to start a workout and often times during a workout I despise that too. But the feeling after? Now that I love! I love the feeling after I finish a workout.
My workouts often vary. Depending on the time of year, I will walk, run, swim, bike, do a class at the gym or lift weights. Usually year-round, if my schedule allows, I lift weights two times a week. I lift for one hour and do anywhere from 800-1,000 reps in that time frame. Over the hour I am usually very uncomfortable, but I know it’s the resistance from the weights that builds the muscles in my body. The suffering endured during a difficult workout is what produces muscles in my body.
The other day as I was lifting the Lord pointed out to me that the higher the amount of weight I lift, the quicker my muscle will grow. Not only that, but if I use a small weight I will see very little results. For example if I use a 15 pound weight versus a 1 pound weight, my workout will be much more difficult and therefore will produce greater results. It might seem like an obvious revelation, but this will make more sense as you continue to read.
Several years ago, when we were in the same position we are in now – the middle of our infertility journey – a friend reminded me, “Caroline, you are building spiritual muscles.” Oh how that spoke to my I-love-to-lift-weights heart. The same example I gave for lifting weights in the physical holds true in the spirit realm too. If you want to grow spiritual muscle and become stronger in your faith walk, you must face resistance, or suffering.
James 1:2-4 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.“
Notice how it says “let perseverance finish its work.” There is something to be said about endurance and perseverance when it comes to lifting weights. I am often tempted to give up in the middle of a workout. But the feeling when I finish out weighs the pain that comes with the workout. In addition, if I were only to lift weights once a year, I wouldn’t see much change in my body. Or if I only lifted a minute a day, then there would be little to no change either. And the example the Lord reminded me of last week? It’s the same thing. 1 pound probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference. But facing resistance two times a week using a heavy weight is when the change starts to occur. The same holds true for you. The harder your trial and the longer you have to face it, the greater the spiritual results, if you so choose!
No one can make me lift weights, I have to make that decision on my own. And for you? No one can make you embrace the trial you are facing, just you. To clarify, by using the word embrace, I am not saying that you just partner up with the enemy and let him wreak havoc in your life. No no no! What I am saying is when you find yourself in a wilderness season you can make the choice to partner up with the Father and if you do, then the resistance you face will turn into spiritual muscles.
Whatever suffering you are facing, you might be tempted to quit but the spiritual muscles that are being built will far outweigh the pain you are currently enduring along the way. If you stay the course, perseverance will finish its work so that you are mature and complete, not lacking anything.
What trial are you in now? What can you do to embrace the resistance?
PS. If you are going through infertility, please head over to join a faith-based support group I founded, Moms in the Making!
PPS. Have you picked up a copy of my book? Buy In Due Time, a 60-day devotional for hope + encouragement in the waiting.
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