Women of Grace

Of Some Good

November 14, 2015

 

I recently joined a gym.  (Kind of a lame way to start a blog post…I know…but, goodness me, I can’t figure out a way to start this thing in a captivating way!)

Anyway, I joined a gym.  A girlfriend and I saw an advertisement for a boot-camp program on Facebook and decided we were going to do it.  So we drove ourselves down to the gym, met with the owner, and signed up!  Six months of training…here we come!

About thirty seconds into the first day, let’s just say I had a wake-up call.  Now if I’m being honest, the scale isn’t my enemy.  My pants aren’t loose, but they fit fine.  From an outward appearance, I looked healthy.  I even eat healthy…with the exception of my weekly donut (Yes, my donut shop friends know me by name.).  But looking healthy and being healthy are two different things.  And my wonderful trainer quickly helped me see how weak I was.

It was a good place for me, knowing my weakness. It’s still a good place for me.  I know I’m weak, but I’m getting stronger.  I look forward to our early morning sessions, to seeing the group I work out with and experiencing the encouragement from and with them, and the confidence in knowing that the person leading us knows what he’s doing!

And I can see getting lost in it.  In the idea that physical strength is what is important.  In the lies that the TV and marketing tell us that it’s all about looking good in that bikini, or dress, or Facebook picture.  Insecurities are ready to jump into our hearts and minds about our bodies at every turn, even at every moment of strengthening our bodies!  But is our physical appearance or our physical abilities really the root of our deep-seeded insecurities?

Reality is that our frustrations and insecurities are founded in our own broken relationship with our Creator. God created us to know no shame (Genesis 2:25). God made us in His image, male and female, and said it was very good. He created us to walk with Him daily in paradise. Yet shame, insecurities, and frustrations are our constant companions.  And though we are still made in God’s image, sin has made its home in our hearts and we are separated from our Creator because of it and are exiled from our home until death or Christ’s return.

Yes, I’m saying that our modern-day insecurities and self-centeredness all started at the beginning of time, with that forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve.  At that moment of “first sin,” shame entered our world. John Piper addresses shame in his book, “This Momentary Marriage,” (which I highly recommend to EVERYONE), when he says, “Why then the shame? Because the foundation of covenant keeping love collapsed.”

You see, by declaring their independence and deciding that their desire to eat of the fruit was more important than God’s command, Adam and Eve shattered the covenant love relationship.

It, of course, is not something that only Adam and Eve did. We do this daily in our own hearts. We make ourselves the judge and jury, writing and rewriting the laws in our hearts according to our convenience, we set ourselves up as our own god. We want to be strong in our own strength.  We want to be noticed for our glory.  And the further our hearts are from the true God, the deeper our frustrations and the more devastating our insecurities.

We have it all backwards! 1 Timothy 4:8 says:

 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Physical training is good…very good! But let’s use it as it’s intended: to give ourselves a physical example of perseverance, to use the pain of sore and strained muscles that are every day being torn down to accomplish physical strengthening, and to see the habit of waking up early to train our bodies, as a physical example of our faith (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Faith is persevering through the pain and heartache that goes beyond the pain of physical exertion.  Setting aside our first moments of the day for exercise is good. Setting aside our first moments of the day for God is great.

We need to be healthy. Proverbs 31:17 says that a wife (may I substitute woman?) of noble character’s arms are strong for her tasks.  Let’s become physically strong so we can set about the tasks in our lives with strength and confidence.

And let’s get healthy together!  There is amazing encouragement when a woman is weak and her peers cheer her on, the accountability of knowing someone’s going to ask “Where were you?” if you miss a session, and the blessing of having someone stronger to look to as an example and help steer you onto a healthy path.  But I don’t want that just in my physical training.  My spirit begs for that for my faith and relationship with Jesus.

Can you imagine if we took the truths of working out and applied them to our faith?   Knowing accountability is crucial (Galatians 6:1-2 & Proverbs 27:17), that we are stronger together (Ecclesiastes 4:12), and the amazing benefit and grace of mentor-ship & discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20 & 1 Corinthians 11:1).

The solution to our frustrations and insecurities is not found in a gym.  It’s not in that pair of running shoes, or that magical number on the scale, or that perfect pant size.  The solution is to run straight to the cross and find our identity in a God who loves us so much that He sent his son to die on a cross, a God who is so strong that death could not defeat him, and a God so glorious that His Son rose again, defeating death and offering eternal forgiveness and salvation to everyone who believes in Him.

I’ve admitted my physical weakness, and I refuse to be ashamed of it.  Because I am seeking strength.

And I confess my weakness of faith.

But you know what?  It’s a good place for me, knowing my weakness.  I know I’m weak, but I’m committed to getting stronger.  I look forward to my early morning time with Jesus, to seeing the group of girls I do life with and Bible study with and receiving encouragement from their faith, and I rest in the confidence of knowing that the God leading me knows what He’s doing!

And let’s be honest, it’s not my strength anyway.

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” {Zechariah 4:6}

It’s Christ in me.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. {2 Corinthians 12:19-20}

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