A True Beginner

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Recently I decided it was time to start getting rid of some of my baby fat (after all I have been carrying it around for some 45 years now),  and to start toning up this aging body of mine. My problem is always finding time. I’ve considered a gym but I just don’t have the time to drive there work out and then drive back home. I thought about bow-flex but frankly I just can’t see buying another clothes rack I mean exercise machine. Then I heard about this site on-line called the Daily Burn and thought I’d give it a try. I signed up and answered the site’s preliminary questions and from that they placed me in the “True beginner” category.

Now at first I was a little offended. I am not a true beginner. I’ve started hundreds of exercise programs (or maybe 10) ; But hey! that ought to at least put me in the moderately knowledgable category, shouldn’t it?

Here’s the thing I am learning. It’s not about the past or where I have been. It is about right now and what I can handle in the present. The fact that twenty seven years ago I found a great program and lost 30 pounds does not mean that as a forty -seven year old who has gained back 80 of those 30 pounds I can pick right back up where I left off. I have much lost ground to recover before I can even dream of  doing the things I was able to do back then.

As I started the first “True Beginner” exercise session I learned I was in the right spot after all.  I think I was in the middle of my third set of squats when I began having this sensation that my quadriceps were going to pop right out through my skin and run screaming through the streets that there was someone trying to murder them.  Knowing what a squat was or that it was working my quads did little to change the fact that it hurt like the dickens.

The spiritual application should be apparent. We can have all the book learning about God there is to be had but in the end all the head knowledge in the world cannot make us mature Christians. It’s not knowledge about how to walk the walk that makes us strong; It’s walking the walk and putting the biblical principles into practice that strengthens us.

Just like starting a new exercise program pains the body, so applying biblical principles for the first time will cause our spirits to be stretched. It has little to do with how long we have been Christians or how long we have known the truth. It has everything to do with being new to the exercise.

Sometimes we think that if we just hang around the church long enough our problems will just solve themselves. Sometimes we think that if we just believe long enough temptation will stop being tempting.

“That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!” as the popular ad here in the States says.

As I approach this new exercise program I have to accept that I am a true beginner. I have to work through the aches and pains until my body gets used to the principles of use. Every time I practice a new spiritual discipline or confront a new spiritual stronghold I have to accept that once again I am in “True beginner” territory. I have to expect some discomfort to come with change. I have to give my spiritual muscles time to get use to the new principles the Holy Spirit is working inside me. But with both spiritual and physical exercise, I can rejoice that in the discomfort progress is being made.

So let me ask how do you work through the uncomfortable places of spiritual growth?

14 thoughts on “A True Beginner

  1. I am cheering you on, Pastor J, and asking for your prayers as I learn more and more how to apply biblical principles to my daily life, pain and all. God bless you!

  2. I loved reading this!! And how true it is.

    I’ve found journaling to be one of the best things for me in growing spiritually. Whenever I get frustrated, feel that I’m not going anywhere, or find the growing process to be brutally painful, I like to write about it. And then I look back at past journal entries, during times when I was feeling the same way. That’s when I get that “duh!” moment; it’s amazing how easily I can forget that God knows exactly what He’s doing! 😉

    Great post!

  3. Praise the Lord, Pastor Jay, I too have been embarking on a new fitness plan and realized that change isn’t change until it’s change….no matter how you slice it you must change your mindset, your purpose and your direction. You can’t continue the same things and expect a different outcome!!! May God give you strength as you continue to change ….out with the old and in with new!!!!!

  4. Great analogy JE.
    And a challenging question!
    I guess the simple answer is ‘painfully’ but when God has a plan, He doesn’t let go and I’ve learned that the sooner I agree with Him, the less painful it will be . . . and the sooner the rejoicing starts.

  5. Hi Pastor J great article and question and here’s my answer. I believe it’s about surrendering yourself to God. So it starts with the surrendering of time to read His word and time in prayer. Believe as we spend time with God He reveals Himself and His will for us to us. After that there’s a surrendering of our desire to please ourselves and instead desire to please God !

  6. Lots of good truth Pastor “J”…..physical exercise can be tough, but spiritual exercise can be tougher but the only way forward is through…..all the best with your quest to renovate a His temple….:)

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