Jared ClaytonComment

Bro, do you even lift?

Jared ClaytonComment
Bro, do you even lift?

BRO, DO YOU EVEN LIFT?

“Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Learning to handle trials of various kinds with joy is a command of the scripture. That's not easy. Our times of trial seem to consistently be things we are unprepared for. Things beyond us. How can we prepare for trials? How can we position ourselves to respond well? Learning to respond well to trials is a lot like learning to lift in the gym: you need to develop good form before you start stacking the weights. Bro, do you even lift? Do you even know how?

In life (and in the weight room), we have to posture ourselves to be lifetime learners. And learning is always a humbling experience. There's something you don't know and you need to know it. Learning to stretch, warm up, and lift the bar without weights seems below you. It may seem trivial and humiliating when you see everyone else carrying weight while your bar is weightless, but it is for your good. You have to teach your muscles the form. You have to learn and keep learning. You have to humble yourself before you can respond well in trials.

Humility has to become a natural rhythm in life that we embrace, or we will find ourselves opposing God and the work of transformation He wishes to produce within us through various trials.

The spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, ‘Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.’
— Thomas Keating

“But how are these movements going to help me lift heavy weights?” The stretches, the warm up, and the form all equip your muscles so that when weight is added they will know what to do.

The testing of our limits produces steadfastness. Steadfastness is produced by trials that place us beyond ourselves, activating and increasing our faith. The weights inevitably activate and increase our strength. As we encounter trials of various kinds - when more weight is applied - will we allow God to have His way and let steadfastness have its full effect, "...that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:4)?

When we haven't taken the time to prepare to lift, and disregard the importance of our form, lifting weights can be awkward, frustrating, and will most likely lead to serious injury. But if you learn the rhythms and form through humility and steadfastness, the weight will soon become your joy and access to new strengths you never thought possible.

 

Keys to lifting weights well:

1. Rest (both physical and spiritual). Matthew 11:28-30

2. Drinking enough water (being filled by the spirit, the living water). John 7:37-39

3. Nutrition (time in the word). John 6:67-69

4. A coach (mentor/ someone to disciple you). Matthew 28:19-20  

5. A good lifting partner (Meaningful peer relationships and accountability).

6. A good gym with the right equipment (A gospel centered church).  Hebrews 10:25

7. A community that is passionate about fitness (Godly community).  Proverbs 13:20

 

Don’t shy away from or complain about lifting. Instead rejoice because of your potential to grow. Scripture talks about a beautiful tension between trials vs. easy burdens, mourning vs. rejoicing, and suffering vs. peace. God, our journey, and the relationship we have with Him are not one dimensional. Trials will come. The weight will come. Are you prepared and are you willing to lift?

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
— Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)