I heard a teacher of the Word, Phylicia Masonheimer, founder of “Every Woman a Theologian”, encourage women to develop the habit of ‘showing up before we feel like we need it.’ In other words, do the work of diligently seeking the Lord before we are in the throes of life. Because that’s what we seem to fail to do — arm ourselves with the power of the Word — before we have the need to use it in a desperate situation.
It’s a wonder we tend to panic at the sound of an approaching wind.
God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions. Hebrews 4:12 GWT
Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 Amplified
When I was in the fitness industry, I taught strength training classes and worked as a personal trainer. My clients would always ask me, “Why does it have to feel so hard? Why couldn’t I lift weights that are lighter or do exercises that are easy? Because you wouldn’t develop strength. The persistent willful act to move against resistance (the weight) increases the strength of the muscle. In the life of the Believer, that muscle is our faith.
The more we use our faith muscles, the better equipped we are to protect our minds against the wrong thoughts in our heads, and defend our holy turf … the stronger we become, the mundane of Monday becomes motivational and mighty in comparison to the meager taunts of the enemy.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV
We cannot resist without having worked up to the ability to do so. GOD created us to be strong in our faith to do the work He planned for us to accomplish. Our faith unleashes all the lessons learned in those training moments. In those hard exercises and times when we ‘just didn’t feel like it, but did it anyway.’ It is in those moments that we are investing in our faith — taking in those deposits of strength that are available to us — that we will be able to stand firmly when it’s necessary.
Here’s the kicker: you have to act on it. The strength and endurance to face our circumstances won’t infuse our spirits like vapor that we can easily inhale. We have to do the hard work of going through the tough times over and over and over again, using the tools that we have strapped on us in order to refine the way we respond and come out victoriously. It’s in the repetitions that the good stuff is happening. We don’t realize it in real time because we are often too busy complaining about the discomfort. Think on that for a moment.
Planned quiet time with the Lord.
Participation in small group Bible study.
Personal Bible study time.
Memorizing Scripture so that it’s ready to hurl at the enemy’s attacks.
You can add your own ideas and maybe you’ve got some to share — I’d love to hear them. Whatever activity you can actually get involved in on a regular basis and with other Christ Followers that requires you to meditate and ruminate the Word of GOD, do it.
In the middle of the actual physical exercise, my clients and students would moan and groan. My response: “That’s why it’s called resistance training.” It’s two-fold actually: the resistance is the weighted object that is intended for you to use to build up your strength.
The other consideration is that people most often resist the hard work because they want an easy solution that wouldn’t require any effort. The problem with that is you would have little appreciation for what it takes to achieve the strength and there is no experience in the perseverance. Whether it’s mental, emotional, physical or spiritual. I’ll let you sit with that for a few seconds.
When we avoid the hard work or seek the easy way out, we miss out on the opportunity to experience more of GOD in our training ground. Those awful situations where we don’t think we’ll survive are ripe with the goodness of GOD just waiting for us to open our eyes to see Him right there with us in the thick of things.
I wouldn’t be truthful if I told you that I didn’t have those moments when I was ‘just not feelin’ it.’ There’s some preaching to that face I see in the mirror. At the very least, I must devote quality time to planting this girl in the Word so that the Word is planted and rooted in her. I must work to resist the distractions and projects staring at me to give attention and put them in their proper places.
Regularly practicing eventually achieved the results I set out to accomplish. I had to keep hammering away at my habits to make sure I prioritized my time well. It took a lot of time, Sister. But you have that time. GOD is patient and He will honor that obedience by doing phenomenal things in your life. Just stick to it.
Resistance training is a process. A process is that journey that gets us to the other side of our current challenge. You might call it Monday or Friday, it might be that really unpleasant work situation, that dysfunctional relationship, the difficult people you come in contact with everyday … you’ve labeled it and it’s that place you’d rather be far away from.
But we can know this: that in all situations, GOD is there and He is faithful.
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. Jeremiah 29:13 The Message
You can be in the deepest of muddy waters and GOD is ready to save you — but you will have to extend your arm towards Him to take His Hand. That requires effort on your part. His Plan to pull you out of whatever you’re experiencing is all but ready to launch — but you have to be willing to go there with Him. He will not force your arm.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 NIV
Just as I would carve out a fitness plan for my clients and develop a curriculum for my students, it was always for their benefit and with the goal in mind: to get stronger and be able to use that strength in various situations outside of the training room, GOD desires for you to be strong in your faith in Him and to be able to live life to its fullest.
Fast and sloppy leads to a haphazard end and can bear no pressure. If we simply cruise through a Bible study just going through the motions without really ingesting and digesting the Word, applying the lessons, we won’t know the Truth and what it means to feast on it and have it be our essential food. We need the Bread of Life for our souls to live just as you need nutrition for your body to thrive. Diligence and intentional pursuit of GOD will lead to the faith muscles that are well developed capable to withstand under pressure and can fight in turbulent times.
“How do your faith muscles measure up today?”
“Have you been resistant to the training drills?
If you’re not certain about where you stand, you will quickly find out with the next challenge whether you are able to stand. My advice to you today: don’t resist the training. Get in there, Sister. You’ll be glad you did.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary