working out

Hebrews 5:14: “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” I was meditating on this verse, and the commentary I read talked about the verse’s Greek translation, which includes the word “γεγυμνασμενα”. γεγυμνασμενα literally means “to exercise” or “to train.”
In reflecting on this, I realized that spiritual training (distinguishing between good and evil, moving into maturity) is a lot like physical training.

When you start working out, it’s easy to give up because your muscles haven’t been stretched before. Similarly, when we first start maturing, our muscles are not used to the pressure, the unfamiliar tensions of choosing good and denying fleshly desires.

Then, even when we finally use these muscles, we feel good for a sec and then get sore. Turns out muscle soreness is actually caused by inflammation stemming from micro tears in our muscle fibers (between our muscles and tissues), and usually happens after inactivity or moving to a higher intensity.

To apply the metaphor, regardless of our starting point, when we mature we’re going to encounter soreness, which manifests itself in many ways: a discomfort at moving to new things, a withdrawal from what we’ve left behind, a sadness at separation from people or places we used to love or currently love.

But as we all know, this soreness is not bad when it’s healthy and gradual – and once it passes, it’s rewarding and the training gets easier. But we still have to do a couple of things:

  • Eating protein (protein as in God’s Word, the solid food)
  • Not going from zero to 100, which causes big tears and hinders growth (aka going slowly and understanding, moving steadily to solid food to avoid burn-out)
  • Maintaining a routine (constant training, not just one-time training)
  • Moving forward (because the sad truth is, if we don’t up the intensity and move forward in God, we’ll end up going the other way)

Above all, as we work out, we must remember one thing.Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

We can try and work out our spiritual muscles as much as we want. But we will never mature as believers without faith that He will see us and strengthen us to grow.

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