“In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In the picture above I had just shaved my head after my hair started falling out from the chemo treatment. The picture depicts a strength and attitude to take on this challenge! Where did these come from? Certainly not from me. The source is hanging around my neck.
In discussions with some folks last week we talked about getting out of our comfort zones and doing things that were tough for us. I was sharing a little analogy from my background in physical fitness. Strength training is critically important to maintain health, vitality and function. It’s one of those areas where you can find a million different ideas and methodologies, 95% of which are of little value. The truth is to be of benefit you have to stimulate the muscle to high degree of fatigue/exhaustion for any meaningful benefit to occur. My favorite fallacy is that when you get older you should just concentrate on low weights with high reps. This is a perfect work out for those that want the illusion they are doing something meaningful for their health.
By lifting heavy weights we stress the muscle and connective tissues. Is this hard, uncomfortable and sometimes even painful? Yep! Why do it? You gain muscle mass, which increases your metabolism and burns fat for 8-12 hours after the workout (cardio burns little to no calories after workout). You gain strength and balance. Your immune system strengthens, every system in your body is improved. Your blood pressure and oxygenation improve. Oxygenation takes place in the muscle. We always hear about the cardiovascular system. It’s mostly just plumbing. By working the muscles, this is where cardiovascular improvement actually happens. Work out with a tough weight training regimen for 3 months, then go run for 30 minutes. You’ll be shocked.
So why don’t we do this with regularity? Simple, it’s hard work. Why don’t we increase the number of customer calls we are doing at work? Why don’t we hold each other accountable for certain goals or efforts? Why don’t we ask for help or mentorship at work? Why don’t we make the effort to improve our skills and knowledge in areas that are not easy for us? Various reasons: it’s hard, that’s uncomfortable, it will hurt my pride, I’ll telling myself a story about failure or looking weak or unknowledgeable.
I drew some inspiration along these lines from Oswalt Chambers who wrote about God’s word:
“In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He is saying, “There is nothing to fear.” The same people who refuse to talk about their adversities before they were saved often complain and worry after being born again because they have the wrong idea of what it means to live the life of a Christian.
God does not give us overcoming life – He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Overcome your timidity and take the first step. Then God will give you nourishment.
So, whatever the challenge or fear, face it now, with good cheer. It will be overcome, and the results will be more than worth the effort!