As someone who teaches group fitness, specifically strength training, I know well the impact a new year has on gym memberships. In January, they pack out. By spring, many have disappeared. As Pastor David reminded us in his first message of this New Year, losing weight is always the majority’s number one resolution. People have great intentions, but follow-through is often faulty.
In this current sermon series, we’ve been reminded to think more about starting a “revolution.” Our own, personal resolve is the genesis —not only to desire and decide change, but following it through, making it happen, opposing obstacles in the way, and choosing to triumph in it. To follow up on the blog posted January 9 entitled “Healthy Living,” I’d like to add a few more parallels for you to consider in helping to create a new you in the New Year. It’s not too late. In fact, as long as you’re still breathing, it’s never too late to make a change—whatever the area of need. But when it comes to your overall well-being, whether it’s being more physically strong or improving your spiritual “fitness” strength, many of the core principles are exactly the same: 1.) High repetitions build endurance.
- Read the Word daily. (Psalm 1:2, 119:15)
- Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
2.) Heavier weight builds strength.
- Trials build character and perseverance. (Romans 5:3-5)
- Responsibility carries its own weight. (Luke 12:48)
3.) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Jesus is Living Water. (John 4:10)
- God’s Word refreshes us. (Psalm 23:3, Proverbs 11:15)
4.) Accountability will help you stay on track.
- Worship corporately. (Psalm 48:9, Hebrews 10:25)
- Grow in discipleship—by yourself and with others. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
5.) Choose carefully what you consume into your body. (Psalm 101:3) 6.) Burn more calories than you take in.
- Be active in serving others. (1 Peter 4:10)
- Utilize your gifts within the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:4-30)
7.) Be patient–transformation takes time.
- Start–right here, where you are, right now. Think Nike’s “Just Do It!”
- Learn self-control. (Proverbs 16:32)
- Remember that nothing changes unless something changes.
8.) Keep your eye on the instructor/trainer to model the right way.
- Jesus is our example, and the Holy Spirit is our “trainer/coach.” (Luke 2:12; John 4:23, 16:13)
- Look to mature believers to mentor you. (Titus 2:3, 7)
9.) Don’t let past attempts, maybe even failed ones, stop you.
- Every day is a fresh start, a do-over. (Job 11:6)
- Keep your eye on the prize. (Hebrews 12:2)
10.) Being sore is a good sign.
- Don’t grow weary. (Galatians 6:9)
- Do hard stuff that challenges you. (Matthew 5:46)
11.) Enjoy a rest day. (Matthew 11:28; Exodus 20:8)
As with any exercise, with strength training there are multiple benefits—you build bone density, you boost your metabolism, you build lean muscle. It takes some time and effort, but the results will come. And you might find some days when you don’t think you can squeeze it in, or maybe just don’t want to go, but when you do, it’s because you made it a priority and you know it’s worth it.
It’s the same with our spiritual “improvement.” It takes an investment of time and “effort”—time spent daily reading His Word, serving others in Jesus’s name, worshiping Him—a commitment to Him to make Him your ultimate priority.
Just as we might want to improve the way we feel and look physically, our main goal should be to look more like Jesus. As we grow in Him, we too find that we are benefitted in a variety of ways–we gain the things of Him (Galatians 5:22-23) and find that we “can do all things” because HE strengthens us (Philippians 4:13)!
So, go pick up your Bible–and some dumbbells—get stronger and “chisel” a new you!