• Andrew Dyer



Doing my best to abide by Paul’s words that bodily training is of some value (1 Timothy 4:7), I work out. Some. Three early mornings a week of lifting weights is enough for me. Quiet time follows after, again as Paul states in the same verse we should train for godliness, it being of value in every way. Having been at it for months I began to see parallels between lifting lead weights for strength, and lifting scriptural weights for spiritual growth.

We could safely say that many people lift weights to gain strength. Not all, but many. Likely motivations may be sports performance, injury prevention, or incident recovery.

So does this goal of significantly improved strength come after one time of lifting? Does the extra muscle just appear overnight? Granted, you will see a slight incremental strength gain, say, the next week. Yet overall, no, the enhanced strength is not instant. It takes time, repetition, dedication, discipline. Only after many sessions, power has significantly increased and is now there when you need it. Likewise, hiding God's Word in your heart, and growing in the grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18) does not happen overnight. That is not to say you won’t benefit daily. Even a single verse remembered is useful (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Yet, it takes the same time, repetition, dedication, and discipline to build up your relationship with God through His Word. How do you get to know someone you do not speak with often? As you take to heart more verses, storylines, themes, and accounts, the greater your heart yearns to perform for Him alone (Psalm 119:20), you begin to prevent more injury from sin (Ephesians 6:13), and it tells you have already recovered from past sin through asking forgiveness and repentance (1 John 1:9). They are then forgotten (Hebrews 10:17).

Let me take this comparison a step further for a moment to supplements—legal supplements, to be more specific. Many people take various vitamins and proteins to enhance the results of lifting weights. There are pre-workout energy boosters, post-workout recovery drinks, replacement meals, and the list could go on. I say all of this to examine what good these would do if you took them but did not lift any weights? Would you expect the solitary supplements to make you stronger? By no means. I question then, would this not be unlike reading great devotional books but never reading the Bible itself? Just as the vitamins alone would indeed have a positive effect on the body, nevertheless, you would not see any strength gains without exercise and so it would seem with devotions and the like. You will see minor improvements and benefits, yes. Yet, you are missing the great exercise of the heart and mind.

The real workouts come from the Bible itself. Just as strength training breaks down and tears the muscle fibers in your body, so that upon recovery, new additional muscle fibers are also formed in the healing process, so it is with God’s Word. It tears away at your old natural self, only to build up your new Spirit-filled self in the process (2 Corinthians 5:7). When pushing or pulling a mass you have not lifted before, often you will be stiff and sore later from that workout. Biblical truths can have the same effect. Those truths and imperatives that are new to you and may directly address an area of your life where sin has been let be to dwell untouched, when you begin to tear them down to let God build it up, soreness will come. Your mind says you cannot possibly move that amount of weight, your heart says to try anyway as it needs to be done. So also your mind says you don’t really want to give up that little respectable sin which harms no one else. Your spirit says God wants all of you, it needs to be done.

So I encourage you to begin or continue to lift your Bible weights as often as you can. Hide His Word in your heart, not only on your devices (Psalm 119:10-11). Start small and pray for God's help to stick with it. Everyone has to start with the small weights at some point. Make it a habit and find out what your heart can really scripturally bench press. Know about God, but more importantly, know God.

#growth #scripture #bible #article #1Timothy

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