|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “He has made his people strong …” Psalm 148:14 (NLT)
Our thought for today: “God is making you stronger”
For most of my adult life I have included weight training as part of my overall workout routine. Once upon a time it was five days a week using heavy weights. These days I’m down to two days a week using much lighter weights. The other days I do mostly cardio.
Weight training is also known as resistance training. The idea behind it is to intentionally create a significant amount of resistance that you have to push back against. Doing so forces your muscles to stretch and strain, and that then leads to muscle growth- the muscles grow larger and stronger as a result of pushing back against the resistance.
Problems in life often serve the same purpose. They create a resistance that we have to push back against and when we do, it makes us stronger. Our problem is that today we live in what author John Eldredge refers to as “the comfort culture”. Everything is so much easier for us than it used to be. We don’t have to hunt for our food – we just go to the store to buy it. We don’t have to fix our own cars – mechanics do that for us. We don’t have to actually do math in our head – the calculator on our smart phone does the math for us. And on and on it goes. We have gidgets and gadgets and experts to take care of almost everything for us.
As a result, we can become soft – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually soft. One college administrator, commenting on the maturity and resilience of the average college student these days was quoted as saying, “Eighteen is the new twelve. Our students are emotionally underdeveloped. They’re much less resilient than any we’ve ever encountered …”
In Psalm 148:14 we learn that God makes us strong. That usually doesn’t happen magically. Sometimes He might simply infuse us with instant strength we didn’t have a moment before, but usually the strengthening is a process that occurs over an extended period of time. He either has to initiate actions in the lives of His people specifically designed to challenge us and to make us strong, or He allows tough situations to exist that will challenge us and stretch us. The concept is the same as that of weight resistance training. We need to grunt and groan; we need to face challenges, exert extra effort, and push through the difficulties in order to become strong.
The fact is that God uses the difficult times in our lives as a way of strengthening us. The key is for us to recognize our struggles for what they are (opportunities to grow) and then learn our lessons, gain the strength, and come out of it stronger and better. This is an important understanding and so we’ll explore it a little further tomorrow.
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