Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my workouts and trying to hone in on what brings me pain because I know if it hurts then it works. Meaning that when I pump that barbell till my muscles are in complete exhaustion, when I’m dripping beads of sweat, perspiring the struggle, that’s when I know that “hard work”, that “pressure” is something that is going to get me into the physique that I desire.
So today before I started my workout, I looked at that barbell at the gym and I thought this is what life is. Life is a continuous trial of challenges, stressors, and disappointments. And some may say, it’s the way you deal with this challenge that will determine if you can make it, but what if I’m not enough? What if I’m giving my all and that weight on that barbell is simply too much to lift? I don’t have that kind of strength, my friends and family can’t take on all of the daily toils– I mean weight—that I lift, so who do I confide in to endure this with me? Who is my spotter to help me bench this 290 pound weight?
Well later on I opened my bible and I happen to be reading the book of John, when I came across this verse:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome this world.” -John 16:33
This is Jesus speaking to his disciples before his death. He is articulating that though we may have troubles he will still give us peace. We will survive despite the 290 pound weights that we have to push in order to lift this barbell. We will thrive despite the looming feeling of dark, emptiness that lingers within our soul. But what is peace? When I used to think of peace I used to think of tranquil waterfalls, lush, quiet meadows, meditation rooms with bald Monks with red and gold robes (sorry I have quite the imagination) however, since my walk with God I have realized that his version of peace is not this depiction of peace that the world displays. The peace that Jesus gave came the night that he died on that cross for our sins. Its to serve as a center in the middle of turmoil. It came to give us strength to lift that barbell. It came to give us balance in the midst of this lopsided world. In the book of John, Jesus also says to his disciples,
“It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7
Out of his own mouth Jesus tells his disciples that he has gone away, referring to his death, to give them a “helper” that will not only journey with them as he did but in them, to remain at any sign of trouble. This helper was the holy spirit. The spirit of God that resides within those who abide in him. The spirit that serves as a comforter in times of sorrow, a helper in times of trouble, of strength in times of weakness, of confidence in times of doubt. True peace is knowing that you never have to go through anything alone. That weight is transferable to the spotter, the holy spirit, once you invite him to intercede in your trouble. To daily call to the holy spirit in time of trouble is the path to peace. Once that peace is generated and the holy spirit is present lifting that barbell with us that’s when true growth initiates. Because once we are filled with the peace from the holy spirit, there is nothing we are incapable of accomplishing. Because our feet are strongly planted into the ground, our faith is unwavering that daily weight is no longer a struggle to endure alone, it’s something that we can endure with our confidant, the holy spirit.
So I challenge you today, throughout the day when even the smallest of worries, come up to take a moment and think. In response to this weight will I act according to my flesh by shaking, becoming exhausted or will I operate through the peace that has been gifted to me through Christ and by the holy spirit?