I hear from God in the strangest of places. It wouldn’t be accurate to tell you I only commune with God in my prayer closet or at the altar on Sunday morning because most of the time I hear God’s voice the loudest in a place most people would find strange.
I’m a 28-year-old, married, father of four who is addicted to moving obscene amounts of iron plates. I’ve been addicted to many things in my life, but this one has taught me more about spiritual growth than anything else.
There are many stereotypes of bodybuilders, and I hope I don’t fit any of them. I’m totally committed to my Savior, my wife and my family. I’m not a steroid freak who is obsessed with his body. I’m obsessed with revealing Christ in all His glory in every aspect of my life. It is a life that He saved many times over and this commission is what I was created for.
I hit the gym three-four days a week. I wake up at early each morning to rid my belly of the last bit of fat my wife continually tells me is not there. I like the dedication it creates in me; I love the way it makes me feel, but what keeps me coming back is the process that my body goes through.
Hypertrophy is the medical term for the growth of new muscle cells. Hypertrophy is created when strain is put on existing cells, creating small tears in the muscle fiber. Through the process of the uptake of protein synthesis, the cells grow back bigger and stronger, ready to be strained again. It is only through tearing down that the cells grow stronger.
Before I attempt to mutilate that big bar loaded with 275 pounds, I’ve got to stretch. If I don’t warm the muscle up before I overload it, I may tear it. And that would put a serious delay in my training goals.
I don’t like stretching physically or spiritually. I can pray that that God would use me to reach and teach and make this Glorious One relevant to a searching generation, but if I haven’t allowed him to stretch me into the proper position, I won’t be ready and I’ll do more damage than good.
I think the American church should realize that this command to seek and save will come at a cost. If we desire to lead them from death into life it may get uncomfortable, undignified (even for bodybuilders) and a little messy. We may be called back to the very places that God found us. We may be called to testify to sinners, even the really bad ones. It won’t be pretty, politically correct or what our parents’ church would have done, but it is necessary.
Or we could sit around in a holy huddle, remain stagnant and wait for our fruitless, non-purposeful lives to end, accomplishing absolutely nothing for the kingdom of God.
It’s time to be stretched.
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