Just recently, I did heavy weight lifting (about 25kgs) to build up my biceps. I lifted these weights after a long time break from weight lifting and I did around 25 repeats. I wanted to continue on and so I did another 20 repeats after a short 5 minute gap. I will tell you what made me do it. In my mind, I imagined myself where I would and how I would feel with great looking biceps.
I was tired in no time and I knew I shouldn’t have lifted so much weight at once. The next morning I could feel that my biceps were very sore. I couldn’t stretch out my arms fully and even moving my arms around made me feel an acute, sudden, sharp pain. This made me realize why it was such a big mistake lifting 15kg weights at once.
While applying a curing ointment to my biceps, I realized this is much like our faith in the Christian walk and how certain things I did could be used as an analogy to explain things mentioned in the bible. But before I talk about faith, I want to explain a bit about what causes Muscle Soreness. This is purely Wikipedia knowledge and I will try and make it as non-technical as possible.
Muscle soreness is a result of microscopic tearing of muscle fibre. The amount depends on how hard, how long, and what type of exercise we do. This tearing of muscle fibre causes sharp pain with swelling/bruising over the affected area. As it slowly cures over the days, the rebuilding process begins which makes muscle grow bigger and stronger than before.
But when does this process begin, you may ask? It begins when we are at rest. You see if you continue exercising as you normally would, your muscle fibre is torn over and over until you break down completely. You muscle grow smaller as there was no time for them to recover. This is much like our faith. Let me show you some verse from the bible and how they co-relate to our analogy of exercise and faith…
Romans 10:17 – “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”. Muscles grow when we excercise regularly just as faith grows through the hearing of the word of God.
James 1:3 – “…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance”. Lifting 15kg weights is testing your muscles capabilities…its stretching out the maximum potential your muscles have to lift them up and put them back down. It develops perseverance (endurance). Well…what do we need endurance for?
Romans 5:2-5 – “…and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”.
So what is that kept me going when I was tired? In other words, what motivated me to exercise more and more? It’s that image of myself feeling confident and having bigger biceps. Similarly, in our Christian walk, we also have an image that we can set before us. Its the image of finishing this race.
What race you may ask? It’s the race mentioned in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. It sums up all the verses we have talked about earlier about perseverance, character, and race.
Dear brothers and sisters, this world is like passing through a large shopping mall that is about to close down. The time is ticking (Jesus is coming soon), the things all around you are very tempting and great to look at (temptations). If you stop and look at things, you are wasting time. You have to reach the exit before the mall closes down. In this shopping mall, once the gates are shut, it won’t be opened again. It’s open now…so make your way through the narrow path, squeezing through the thousands around you who are still shopping, tell them to get out as much as you can. Those that listen, will walk to the exit with you but those who don’t will face the consequences.
It’s their choice and it’s your choice. Make it out quick and you will see a world that you’ve never seen before. It won’t be the same as the entrance world. It will be a place so beautiful that your mind cannot comprehend. You will see His face, so beautiful that you wouldn’t want to ever turn away. You will see our wonderful Savior and our Lord saying to you “…Well done, good and faithful servant!…” (Matthew 25:23)
God bless you and I hope this has been an encouragement to you!
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22/07/2012 – After attending the Church today, I just felt that I should mention this. I was thinking a bit more about the shopping mall analogy. Have you ever felt lost in a shopping mall…not knowing where the exit is. Have you ever referred to these little maps that are available that show you the exit points. There are many exit points but there is only one which you need to exit through which will reach you to the place you parked your car. Consider this little map as the Bible, which is guiding you on what to do, what is good for you, what is not good for you and how you should make it down to the final exit before the time runs out.
Have you ever been so lost that a guide in a mall will literally take you to the exit? Well consider this guide, Holy Spirit promised to us by God (Luke 24:49). He can be as real as a person next to you can be. He only becomes that real to us when we spend time with Him, talking to Him and listening to His advice. And when you are following the map (bible) or the guide (Holy Spirit), you trust them that they will take you or guide you through to the right exit that you are wanting to get to. God is willing to guide you given that you ask him for his guidance (Isaiah 58:11).
Please consider this as just an analogy which fits quite well with many aspects of things related to God. It doesn’t accommodate all that is taught to us in scripture and therefore one must meditate what’s in the scripture and try to relate them to what’s happening in their own life.
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