“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1Timothy 4:8 NIV
About a year and a half year ago when my youngest son Bryce was 6 months old, I was determined to get my pre-baby body back! So my husband Billy and I committed to working out every day for 2 months straight to the exercise videos called INSANITY. As you can guess by the name, it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park kind of workout! With both boys occupied with their breakfasts, we rearranged the furniture in our family room and began this quest to tone up our bodies and get into better physical shape. When Billy nearly threw up and I almost passed out after our first work out, I knew then that the gentleman on the TV screen, yelling at me to push harder, was no joke. That gentleman Shaun T was certainly not a “gentle” man! I am not even sure if gentle existed in his vocabulary! I vividly remember trying to walk the next day with every muscle in my body feeling sore and achy!
This muscle soreness I was feeling was really a result of my muscles tearing slightly during my workout. Did you know that you actually have to tear your muscle fibers before you build and tone them up? I know that sounds pretty crazy! When you lift weights or exercise to tone or build your muscles, you actually create tension of the muscle. This causes stretching of the muscle and consequently tiny tears. Cells in your body sense this trauma and begin to repair the tears. As a result of this repairing, the size of the muscle fibers increase and you get greater muscle tone and strength!
According to some recent polls, this year’s top New Year’s resolution is to exercise regularly or exercise more …Not surprising! I think I hear this every year, don’t you?
Getting into better physical condition may actually be one of your resolutions this year and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! The bible even tells us that we honor God by caring for our bodies.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own: you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20
It is clear that taking care of our physical body is important but what New Year’s resolutions have you made to help your spiritual well-being?
1Timothy 4:8 says “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
You see concentrating only on our physical well being is temporary and benefits us only while we are alive here on earth, but godliness not only benefits us now but also for eternity.
So where can we begin with getting stronger and toning up in our relationship with God?
Whether you are new in your relationship with God or have been walking with him for years, one way is our willingness to allow God to tear us. I believe that just as our muscles must tear in order to get stronger and built up, so too it is with getting stronger in our relationship with God. God may need to tear away or “cut” away certain areas of our lives that hinder our growth so we can be built up stronger with him.
“When you came to Christ, you were circumcised, but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision- the “cutting” away of your sinful nature.” Colossians 2:11 NLT
Just as muscle tears result in muscle growth, God’s tears result in spiritual growth.
What areas in your life is he trying to tear away to make you stronger? What areas in your life are you willing to let him tear away? What areas are you holding on to? Is it physical impurity, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, pride, anger, impatience, grudge holding, materialism, gossip, jealousy, impure thoughts?…oh the list can go on and on!
Trust me…I know it isn’t easy. When I look back I can remember the many years God was poking and prodding me to turn from my sinful lifestyle and to turn to him. I kept resisting him and continued in my ways until one day I made a decision to follow him and put him first in my life.
You see, I believed I was following him but I had so many areas of my life that didn’t line up (or follow) with God’s word. It was real hard for me because I gave up a lot but I knew I was gaining something far more valuable.
Even now, after years of following Christ, he continues to tear away areas of my life to make me stronger. It certainly can be challenging when we want to hold on to certain areas but unfortunately they may not be pleasing to God and can hold us back from growing stronger. When God tears away areas of your life sometimes it feels like that muscle soreness from a tough workout and sometimes it can hurt pretty bad, but this is part of the molding/shaping, strengthening, and transforming process for us to become more and more like him. No matter where we are in our relationship with God, his tearing will continue for the rest of our earthly lives (as long as we are willing). And the results of toning up with God will far outweigh the temporary soreness we will feel!
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” NLT Philippians 1:6
Oh, and if you are wondering if my husband and I continued with our 60 day INSANITY workout, I am happy to say (soreness and all), we did!
1) What is he trying to tear away in your life? How willing are you to let him?
2) What is keeping you from letting God tear away a certain area of your life?
1) Do a self –examination. Identify areas in your life that God is trying to tear away.
2) Pray and ask God to show you the areas that are not pleasing to him. (Pray Psalm 139:23) For some of us this can be quite clear but for others this may be something that is less obvious like a bad attitude, tone of voice, critical thoughts etc.
3) Be willing to let God tear these areas away in your life. Pray and ask God for his power, strength, and peace to let go.
4) Find bible scriptures specific to those areas that you struggle with so that they can encourage and strengthen you.