I couldn’t arm wrestle my way out of a paper bag.
Thankfully, I’m bigger than a paper bag… so I wouldn’t ever have to! 🙂
Get it, Abba? 🙂 All kidding aside, though… [please!]… 🙂
Is that why You have been filling my thoughts lately with the idea of “bench pressing?” Or maybe it’s just weight training in general? I would have to agree. I could certainly use some more upper body strength.
Then I got to wondering: Why is “upper body strength” so important for us to have? You answered me in a way I didn’t totally expect.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
“God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” (Matthew 5:41)
I don’t know, Lord. Some of these situations seem like great times to “lay low” and hide out. Maybe like the ostrich, with our head in the sand. Maybe like a different kind of “bear” — where we carbo-load and sleep through the bleak winter, hoping it (the “situation”) is over by the time we wake up.
I can hear Dr. Phil now: “So how’s that working for you?” 🙂
I can also hear You now, Lord. Repeating what You have told us, in more ways than one: We are to be “in” the world (fully engaged, serving Your purposes) but not “of” the world (loving it and being “sucked into” it so we have nothing more to offer.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
“He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19b-20)
So what kind of “bench pressing” would develop the strength needed in all of these situations? Maybe the best answer is not the most palatable.
“Consider it pure joy 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)
Maybe I could just do three reps of 10 bicep curls instead??? 🙂
Perseverance: Steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. How many of us could honestly say we wouldn’t want more of this? Yet how many of us are not eager (perhaps even unwilling) to pay the price?
But the price isn’t out of reach for any of us… is it, Lord? It’s actually pretty simple… although it may not be easy.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)
How many “reps” of how many “Scripture curls” will make us strong enough to stand against the forces of our own flesh, the world and the devil (who would like to stop us in our tracks)? Whatever it takes… it is well worth it!
Determining to bench press Your Word,