By Vicky Lynch
I mounted the bike and entered the necessary information: age, weight, time, and targeted heart rate. It excited me to start my exercise routine after I entered 164 as my target heart rate. Before the machine counted down to begin, the following words scrolled across the screen ~ “Resistance will adjust to reach your targeted heart rate.”
At first, my rate was 134, and I was cruising for nearly two minutes. After that short time, the pedals stiffened to the point where I could barely move my legs. I felt weak. It became so overbearing that I barely lasted five minutes. I dismounted the bike and started over with 140 as my target. Once I reached that limit, the screen informed me that it would now maintain that goal, and the resistance was bearable.
After finishing my work-out and doing some research, I learned a valuable lesson. Greater resistance means:
- Improved body shape
- Improved bone health
- Increased muscle strength
- Increased muscle power
- Increased metabolic rate
- Increased endurance
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Increased lean muscle mass
However, with my tunnel vision, I saw resistance as a hindrance to my workout. Instead of engaging it, I allowed it to overwhelm me and cause a spirit of discouragement. I said, “There is no way I can do this.” So, what did I do? I stopped the machine because I couldn’t handle the force to complete a challenging routine.
According to eMedicine Health, “Resistance training works by causing microscopic damage or tears in the muscle cells, which in turn are quickly repaired by the body to help the muscles regenerate and grow stronger. The breakdown of the muscle fiber is called catabolism, and the repair and re-growth of the muscle tissue is called anabolism. For instance, bones must be broken down first before calcium and other growth factors repair the bone and make it stronger.”
Let’s look at the following passage to see how we can apply this concept spiritually?
“But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That’s why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm”
(1 Peter 5:10, Contemporary English Version)
It is an unpleasant feeling to be broken in order to be rebuilt. Thankfully, the First Letter of Peter encouraged persecuted Christians. It models the modern expression of “no pain, no gain,” which infers that one will reap a great award if he or she endures the harshness of one’s obstacles. God is in the business of showering us with His restorative grace and favor. He did it for Noah by choosing to save only his family because of his righteousness. (Genesis 6:8) He did it for Moses by choosing him to be a deliverer to lead His people out of bondage. (Exodus 3) He did it for Joseph as He promoted him from the pit to the palace. (Genesis 41) He did it for Mary by selecting her womb to carry our Savior. (Luke 1:30-31)
Nevertheless, despite the grace and favor over their lives, they each dealt with some form of resistance. In Noah’s case, he faced great adversity convincing the mass of people to live obediently before God. In Moses’ case, he dealt with a cold-hearted Pharaoh that refused to let God’s people go. In Joseph’s case, he faced relational barriers among his own family, causing him to suffer through a series of difficult circumstances. Lastly, Mary’s heart ached by seeing her child, Jesus Christ, suffer a traumatic death.
When faced with resistance, we must show that we have the faith to believe in God’s comforting presence and “fairness.” If 100 people gathered in one room and asked to define fairness, everyone would have his or her own interpretation. The truth is our circumstances often aren’t reasonable. That is when God may appear in a whirlwind like His meeting with Job. Nevertheless, “we are assured and know that [God being a partner in ‘your’ labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose”. (Romans 8:28, Amplified Bible)
Just like the resistance with training increases strength, the rebuilt muscles replace body fat. We must experience this spiritually. As we survive our own trials, greater faith needs to replace our lack of faith. We see that truth in the father with a dumb-spirited son. He was desperately seeking healing; however, “The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, New Living Translation) This story models our lives. He wanted his unbelief catabolized and his belief anabolized.
So, the next time you find yourself straining, pray that God grants you awareness to His presence. Don’t view your resistance as a hindrance in your life. Rest assured that God will “spot” you through each trial you face. The principle of spotting is having a companion support you while you perform a lifting exercise that you normally could not achieve on your own. To succeed, the person needs equal or greater strength. God does the same for us. His strength is greater than our strength, and He spots us like no other human can.
If we lose sight of the meaning behind the reasons we suffer, we will miss the following benefits:
- Having complete obedience to God’s perfect will
- Experiencing greater intimacy through worship
- Gaining the strength to praise in adversity
- Knowing the assurance that divine elevation belongs to us
- Conforming to the image of Jesus Christ
- Receiving the crown of life
- Earning a greater anointing
The next time you have to deal with resistance in life, do not attempt to tackle it by your own strength. Focus on God’s sovereignty and see the following: (1) Age is everlasting; (2) Weight is heavy; (3) Time is eternity; and (4) Targeted heart rate is John 3:16.
If you do not yet know Jesus Christ, please open your heart and receive Him as your Lord and Savior. With childlike faith, confess your sins, and allow Him to reign over your life. As you experience your trials, you do not have to endure your resistance alone. When the intensity does increase, always remember that it is making you stronger. With the precious promises in God’s word, you can “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit [you] to slip and fall”. (Psalm 55:22, New Living Translation)
About the author:
Vicky is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, she moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to attend the University of Pittsburgh. It was there that she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Science. She accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior on June 13, 2004 and received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost the following day. It is her heartfelt desire to be a kingdom laborer and to do God’s perfect will. Vicky has been recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who as an executive for influencing her organization and industry. She is also a member of the National Association of Professional Women to represent her city and state.
Placing her complete trust in the Lord, she stands firm on Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.