Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Building Muscle

I bet you didn't know that as a twenty-something I was a body builder for a short period of time. Yeah, I know - very hard to believe, but I was. I went from being a 100 lb waif to a 125 lb fireplug! I had 13 inch biceps (which for a little girl with hardly any body fat was impressive), washboard abs (never could get the whole six pack, but I had a solid four), thighs you could bounce a nickel off of and I spent hours perfecting a circuit that kept me competition ready for about six months. It was a ton of work to stay that fit, and I soon lost interest as it was something that came easily to my young body. (Wish my 40 yr old self could say the same!)

I could walk into a room anywhere and get noticed. I looked strong, I looked formidable, I looked like I could really take care of myself. If you had challenged me to a footrace, I might have ended up on the floor in a heap just 50 yards into it, but by all other appearances I was a force to be reckoned with. That's the thing about physical strength, it has it's limitations. If you are good in one spot, you are surely going to have to let something go somewhere else in your training. For me it was cardio. I only had so much time in the gym at night, working two jobs, so I had to sacrifice something. It left a hole in my overall fitness.

Spiritual strength runs parallel. You can take a look at life and decide that you have it all handled, that you are strong enough to deal with your job, your wife, your kids - but let a crisis hit you and something somewhere will fall through the cracks. We cannot do it alone. We were never meant to. God designed us to crave His brand of strength. He built in us a hunger for His presence. We generally understand this concept readily. Everyone needs help, why not get it from the one entity that is omniscient, all powerful and promises never to leave or forsake us?

The thing we don't understand, the thing that is monumentally hard for us to accept is that we are not strongest when we feel strong. We are not strongest when we have a plan, when we see the goal on the horizon. We are strongest when we haven't got a clue what's coming next. We are strongest when we feel as though we have all the wrong answers, if we have answers at all. We are strongest in our weakness because then, and often only then, we kneel and beg for our Heavenly Father to rescue us. When we finally come to the end of our own cumbersome human strongman act, we benefit from the incredible jaw-dropping strength of a Father that loves without limit.

When I feel the temptation to look upon my spiritual walk with confidence, when I am feeling strong and capable and unassailable, it is then that I am in the most danger of all. I will be taken down by my own pride, my own gullible belief in my abilities and I will fall headlong into terrible sin. To rely on my own skills at being strong is pure frivolity.

God wants to lend you His strength today. He wants you to put down the barbels of pride and self-sufficiency, He needs you to quit running toward things that will not build you up. Stop pretending you have it under control and tell Him how much you need His strength to fall upon you and lift you out of the mire. In your weakness you will find yourself carried upon arms that will never let you go.

2 Cor 12:-10 (NIV, Para by me) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."... For when I am weak, then I am strong.