(Note: Post outline was written a couple weeks ago.)
One day I was praying and asking YHVH why I didn’t feel right about starting a new workout challenge. It dawned that I was reverting back to my old ways of “relying on myself” to change me into who I wanted to be, instead of trusting God to provide a way.
This doesn’t mean that working out is wrong. Far from it! Working out is a great way to have fun and stay fit. However, this situation made me need to really STOP and think about why I wanted to do it. Here were the answers I found:
- Get a better body
- Feel cool, like other workout warriors
- Feel better about myself and my abilities
I needed to reframe my approach.
- I work out because it’s fun, and it helps me physically and mentally.
In my school that day, I had a lesson on Augustine’s sermon XXVI, about Peter, and how he sunk because of the storm around him. Here’s the story: Peter stepped out of the boat with full confidence in Jesus’ power to hold him up. But then he saw the storm around him, and as he doubted and grew fearful, he sank. As he sank, he called out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately rescued him and asked the piercing question, “Peter, why did you doubt?”
This is my main take-away from Augustine’s perspective – That Peter stopped relying on Yeshua’s strength, and tried to do it on his own strength. And he failed.
He failed just like the rest of us do, when we decide we don’t need to look in the Bible for an answer. When we don’t bother to pray about an issue. When we try and fix it ourselves, using logic or other people’s advice. We fail.
We fail because we are trusting on our own strength.
For me, this meant literally trusting on myself in everything. In my earlier teen years I thought in terms of logic and systematic analysis. That background has been great for my education, but not so good for when I was developing my own opinions on faith, life, and my future. Trusting in myself caused me to make plenty of mistakes, including the big one of doing a schooling curriculum that I knew God was telling me I would regret. And, although God worked through it to snap me awake and teach me some important things, I did regret it.
Now I trust in myself less – or at least I thought I did. Beginning this fitness journey, (which pretty much started at the beginning of December,) should have begun first with prayer and asking God to lend me his strength, instead of trying to figure it out on my own.
This morning, YHVH let me know that it’s not my biceps that carry me through the workouts – it’s the biceps he gave me to do the chores. It’s not my organizational skills that allow me to meal plan – it’s his organizational skills he gave to me to be able to get through the day smoothly. It’s not my talents – It’s His talents, for His glory.
Bottom line: STOP trusting in yourself. START trusting in God to supply all your strength. You have more strength through Him than you could ever have without Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.”
Proverbs 3:5-8, NKJV
Just … wow. Reread those four verses.
We often trust in our own strength. Sometimes we don’t even realize it, like me with working out. When we fall, it’s our own fault for doubting that His strength is enough.
But when we fall – what’s the right choice?
To call on Him again. To say, “I failed – but you never fail. Save me!” And He will! Just like he did with Peter, Yeshua can save you with His strength.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.“Proverbs 3: 11-12, NKJV
So, if you’re feeling the sting of correction that says, “Stop doing it yourself! Ask me for MY plans and MY strength”, then concede. Repent. Ask for His strength.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Mathew 7:7-11, NKJV
YHVH is your loving Father! He won’t cheat you or cheapen the gift by giving you some half-hearted attempt at a 20 lb weight! No way! He’ll give you the strength to lift a whole 300-pounder! (Metaphorically speaking.) THAT’S the kind of strength I’m talking about!
So STOP. Lean on Him. And he will give you rest and strength.