Read His Words Before Ours!
“You are doing it so incredibly wrong.”
I whispered this to myself as I watched.
The beginning of the year had arrived and with it, the social media broadcasts of New Year’s resolutions.
A friend had posted a video of an individual working out at the gym in a bit of an…um…unorthodox fashion. His limbs flailed about, and it looked like he was trying to unsuccessfully unhook his feet from the elastic band rather than using it to actually work out.
I recognize I’m not known for faithful gym attendance, so my insight on exercise machines is limited. That being said, I knew this individual danced on the edge of seriously hurting himself and, more than likely, wasn’t actually working out successfully.
However, the images in the video and my immediate reaction replayed in my mind long after I’d scrolled past it. He was clearly failing miserably at his desire to improve and succeed at working out. The more I considered this, the more I wondered at what could have helped him effectively reach his goal.
This list began to formulate in my mind:
Observe: I knew the gentleman used the machine incorrectly because I had seen others use that machine correctly in the past. Even though I had never used it before myself, I knew his muscles were not being challenged by his floundering performance.
Ask: Since I do not have large degrees of experiential wisdom on various weight machines in a gym, before using one, I would ask a more seasoned professional to show me how to use the machine and what using it effectively would feel like.
Trust: The man’s movements were grandiose and eye-catching, while inconsistent and uncontrolled. Effectively using the equipment requires dependable, controlled, and, often times, humble moves repeatedly done over time. It is through this process dramatic change is eventually seen.
Interestingly, the gym isn’t the only place this list can be implemented. As I read through the last half of Colossians 3, I pictured myself working spiritual muscles. These fourteen verses (3:12-4:1) are an intense spiritual workout when regularly implemented in life. Their impact can literally change the world on the grand scale, while, on an individual scale, they will shape the sphere of influence a person has. These verses are not for the faint of heart nor are they to be used like the gentleman in the video: inappropriately, without wisdom, and lacking discipline.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another,
forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And above all these put on love,
which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Observe: Who around you demonstrates the love of the Lord well? How do they show His love? Who knows the Word of the Lord and how have you seen them growing in their wisdom and knowledge? Which marriages around you encourage and challenge you to live out Colossians 3? What do you observe about their interactions?
Take the observations you see and present them to the Lord. Ask Him to speak to you regarding those and how He may want those to be reflected in your life, through your personality, and within your sphere of influence.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior,
not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good,
and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind,
and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled.
Ask: Titus calls generations to learn from one another. Maybe the Lord is calling you to step out and ask for wisdom from someone who has already walked the path ahead of you. Who around you is the Lord highlighting from whom you may learn and grow in your walk with Him? Take a step beyond simply observing and learn from those around you by asking to intentionally engage with them. We are called to live in unity and these interactions are a key component of unity.
Trust: Being obedient to the call to “put on Christ” in Colossians and all of Scripture, requires consistent humility, self-control, and repetitive strength-training for our spiritual muscles. It requires a dying to oneself and a living for Christ; a willingness to serve where He directs and stretching that results in growth.
Time will be required and changes may seem minute until hindsight reveals the treasures produced by the process.
As I ponder and pray and ask myself these questions,
I find my heart’s cry to be deep.
I recognize I cannot live a Colossians 3 lifestyle
without the help of the Holy Spirit living within me.
Therefore, I leave you with this prayer as I spend time with Jesus on this topic regarding my own time in the gym with the Lord.
May you be blessed in your conversations with Him!
“Oh Lord, please pour out Your wisdom and mercy.
Help me know I am loved by You and teach me to love as You have loved.
Convict my heart of its shortcomings, so when people see me the words “you are doing it so incredibly wrong” never cross their minds.
Not by my strength, but by Yours!
For Your glory, Lord Jesus.”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!