GETTING STRONGER

What kind of shape are you in? Would you say you’re in great shape? Pretty good shape? Or would you say “Round is a shape”?

Welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me … Come on in and have a seat with me, whatever shape you’re in. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!

There’s a pesky connection between working out and physical strength.

I wish there were a pill or a drink that I could just swallow and get stronger. Visions of Popeye and his can of spinach come to mind. Just one big gulp and — BAM !!! — huge, bulging muscles, incredible power and enemies flying hither and yon begging for mercy. Ahhh, if only.

But real life isn’t like that. I used to work out for forty-five minutes to an hour every morning BEFORE teaching a 30 minute karate class. I did it outside in a large open area of my backyard, hidden from view by a large brick wall. I’d sweat in the summer and freeze in the winter; but I was out there for years. And I was very strong. (Emphasis on “was,” by the way.)

Then, as it happened, other things took more of a priority. I began to spend more time on a keyboard than in a backyard, and time to exercise became tougher and tougher to find. For quite a while I could still look in the mirror and think, “Yeah, I’m still in pretty good shape!” But those days, too, are gone. Any honest assessment of my physical condition needs to come to one inescapable conclusion — I simply MUST find time to work out and restore my core strength. Now I just need to find the time! (No, “finding time” never works; I truly have to MAKE TIME and decide that this will be a priority.)

Funny, isn’t it, how so many of us take the same approach to our spiritual strength. We hope and “pray” for strength as if we expect God to send a can of “spiritual spinach” to us via FEDEX. Yes, here it is!!! Just one big gulp and — BAM !!! – powerful prayer life, unshakable faith and satan tossed about like a rag doll begging for mercy. Ahhh, if only.

But in real life — whether physical or spiritual — strength is developed by the consistent exercise of very things we are trying to make stronger. Bulging bellies are slimmed by sit-ups and leg lifts. Arms and chest by pumping iron.

The idea is to begin with a weight just a bit beyond what you can comfortably handle and then, after a series of deliberate repetitions over a period of time, you’ll find that the amount of weight you can work with increases. You’ve got to deal with all the parts of the body, too. You can’t focus only on your arms and ignore your legs, for example; you’ll end up way out of balance. Also, periodically (but often) you need to have days where you focus on building new muscle by pressing the ones you’re working to their very limits … and just a bit beyond. Keep going until you can feel the “burn” and then press past it to the point of muscle exhaustion. This requires the assistance of a partner who can “spot you” and step in to help lift the load when you become exhausted.

As you no doubt have surmised, I’m not speaking here only of our physical development in that last paragraph. All of these things hold true in the spirit.

Today’s verse says BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT

So here’s where you need to ask yourself the tough questions. How’s your spirit been developing lately? When and how do you deliberately strengthen it? Who’s your partner? Who’s the person walking alongside you, ready to step in and help lift the heavier loads as you develop more and more strength? (Hint, it’s a real benefit if they are stronger than you are!!!) What are the areas YOU are working on and deliberately making stronger?

If none of that even makes sense to you, and you have no idea how you’d even BEGIN to strengthen your spirit, you probably know someone who’s in a position to tell you where to begin. Why not speak with them, and get their perspective on how to begin. Be assured that, as you “work out” your spirit, the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and to protect you from harm.

Life’s going to throw challenges our way. When it does, you and I need to BE STRONG INTHE LORD. Being stronger puts us in a much better position to deal with whatever life drops in our lap. But the time to develop muscles is BEFORE you desperately need them. It’s too late for swimming lessons when you’ve just been thrown into the pool. That’s when you need a lifeguard, not a swimming coach; thankfully God has BOTH.

You and I each need to MAKE TIME and decide that getting stronger in the Lord will be a priority.
What’s YOUR next step?

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