But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Often when I teach a Pilates class, I hear people saying things like, “Well, I can’t do this or that because I am so weak.” You know what I say to that? “All the more reason to do it!” You see, in order to build strength in our bodies, we have to actually USE our bodies. If you want stronger arm muscles, you will have to use your arm muscles! It is easy to give in to our weaknesses. It is much more difficult to RESIST! It is here, in the act of resistance, that we find and build our strength.
In physical fitness, resistance training is, “…any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance.” (Source: eMedicineHealth.com)
One of the simplest ways to practice resistance training is to use our bodies as the “external resistance”. When we use our own bodies–even in their current “weak” states–we can make them stronger through resistance training. In our weakness, we become stronger.
In order for this to work, however, we must follow a few guidelines. In Pilates, for example, we first must be properly aligned and then engage our core strength (whatever that may be) through breathing. We will explore these in more detail as we move through the next few weeks, but suffice it to say, when our bodies are aligned and the proper core muscles recruited, we are best equipped to start building more strength.
The same is true for our spiritual strength. We want to be stronger in our faith, but we often feel weakened by “external resistance”. When life places the “heavy things” on our shoulders (stress, depression, relationship or health issues), we collapse, we cannot stand. We cry out in our weakness for God to save us from these external forces. Instead, perhaps we should choose to RESIST! I do not mean avoid these heavy things, as so often that is not possible, but knowing that WITH GOD all things are possible, we can resist, push back, engage our spiritual “muscles” in order to build strength and endurance!
How does this work? Much like our Pilates steps… In order to utilize God’s strength in our lives, we must:
1) Align ourselves to His Will
2) Engage the CORE of our faith which is CHRIST
3) BREATHE in the Holy Spirit through prayer and study of God’s Word.
Yes, in our own spiritual selves we are too weak to resist the external resistances of this world, but with CHRIST as our center, we can move with His Power in us. The heavy things do not rest upon us then, but on Him as we do the same. The Power of Christ is revealed in us as we allow Him to move us to push back or resist in our weakness.
We will continue to look at physical and spiritual principles of strength in posts to come…until then, RESIST!