Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord, in the power of His might.
These words from Ephesians are written on the wall of my fitness center. Sitting firmly lodged in place on a weight machine, I push with all my might against the resistance of the weights I’ve measured out. Breathing deeply and gritting my teeth, I attempt to increase the amount of weight my flimsy muscles need to get toned up. To get stronger. As difficult as it sounds, that’s how it works. If you want your muscles to get stronger, there must be resistance or you won’t see any progress.
With sweat pouring down my face, I glance up and stare at the powerful words from Ephesians again. This is when I hear the soft, gentle whisper of God in my soul:
Just as your physical muscles can only be strengthened through resistance, your faith and trust in Me can only be strengthened through resistance.
As much as I know this is true, my flesh doesn’t like it at all. My flesh sometimes rears its ugly head and shouts back out of fear, worry or anger. What if God doesn’t come through? What will happen IF? Why did this happen to me and not someone else?
And then God in His patience and grace continues to speak lovingly to me in that still, small voice:
Trust me. Don’t worry. Don’t try to take control of things that aren’t yours to handle. The resistance you’re experiencing will make you stronger in your dependence on me.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes experience this resistance with my husband. With my children. With my own selfish thoughts that don’t line up with God’s. Or I’ll feel this resistance while sitting in a traffic jam that is making me late to wherever I need to go. Even the little things can cause resistance like dishes left out, clothes not put away, a mess not cleaned up, a dropped call in a no-reception area, or a computer not working the way it’s supposed to!
Seen through my own human eyes, these things are obstacles. Interruptions. Irritations. Frustrations.
But seen through God’s eyes, these things are opportunities….to trust. To be refined. To be strengthened.
If I will just turn down the volume on my inner fleshly shouting match, I can more clearly hear the gentle whisper of God in moments like these. And trust that these moments of “resistance” are making me stronger. Making me more like Jesus. And instead of responding with fear, worry or anger when He lovingly increases the amount of weights, I can trust that the end result is for His glory.
READY? Who’s causing resistance in your life these days? Spouse? Children? In-laws? Co-workers? Neighbors? Or What’s causing resistance? Finances? Job? Health? How are you responding to the resistance? Whatever it may be, I challenge you to see these things as opportunities to strengthen your spiritual muscles. Opportunities to trust God and deepen your faith.
GET SET. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
GO! Heavenly Father, it is hard for me to welcome resistance in my life because of my sin nature. Please open the eyes of my heart to see times of difficulty as opportunities to trust you and for my faith to be strengthened. Thank you for your faithfulness to me during these times even when I doubt. Praise you for your power in my life. Amen