I was working out today, and when I finished the prepackaged workout, I felt something was missing. Yes, my muscles were sore, but my heart wasn’t pumping hard, I wasn’t breathing heavily. So, I stood up and ran, and ran, and ran–never moving more than an inch or two from my original location. I stood there, running, looking at my reflection in the refrigerator. It struck me; this is exactly what I do in my life SO often. I run in place. No, I am not inactive, which is good, but I am not going anywhere. I get all the pains and aches of running, yet I never seem to move forward.
Why do I never learn the lessons? Why doesn’t God just move me forward already? I pondered these questions, and then I began to think–“well, why am I [physically] running in place, right now? Why is this important?”
I want to be stronger. I want to build my muscles so that when they are challenged they will be able to answer the call.
Thinking of it that way, it all makes sense. God is preparing me, my spiritual, emotional, and intellectual muscles for the purpose for which I am called.
Just as I would fail miserably if I attempted to go from my untrained status as a non-runner and leaped headlong into running a marathon–so too would be my fate if I skipped the preparation period God is putting me through as he trains me to be a runner for him.
And only He knows the challenges that lay ahead of me, my spiritual and emotional muscles may yet be underdeveloped, so I must be patient and allow Him to grow me.
– Rebecca Turk
encounter the Word
15-19That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
20-23All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence. –Ephesians 1:15-23 [Message]
- What areas of your life do you find Christ training you, building up your spiritual muscle?
- Where do you draw your energy and strength from? How is Christ growing your stamina and power?
- What is the purpose to which you sense God is calling you?