RESISTANCE BUILDS THE VISION
by Makenzie Logan
BEEP BEEP BEEP…*snooze*…BEEP BEEP BEEP…
We all know that sound…and I don’t know about you all, but the struggle to not hit snooze for the third (or fourth) time is REAL. For most of you that sound means it’s time to get ready for work. But for some of you, that means it’s time to get PUMPED UP cause you’re hitting the gym before the sun even comes out. I’d like to say that I’m one of those few brave souls, but I prefer to workout in the evenings when my mind and body are working in full capacity.
As we all know, resistance builds strength. Resistance breaks down what needs to be strengthened and removes what needs to be expelled. When you lift a heavy weight, your muscles literally tear and are rebuilt to be stronger than they were before. In our own lives, when trials and resistance comes our way, we immediately pray for God to remove the resistance because it’s too hard – it’s too heavy. We assume that when tough times come, they are to weaken us instead of strengthen us. What if we reversed this way of thinking?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4
I have a love-hate relationship with this passage. I love it because it’s God’s Word of course and it’s SO true, but really, who thinks this instinctively?? I know I don’t. It has taken YEARS of putting my hope and faith in God and His promises, and seeing God be faithful time and time again for me to fully believe and live this out. Every time I try to hit a new PR (“personal record” for those new to this), I think to myself, “Oh man, I don’t know if I can do this…” But every time I test myself and push through and make it on the other side, guess what? My confidence and my perseverance grow stronger. And the way I talk to myself changes. Now I say, “I can do this.” Why? Because instead of looking at new challenges as a stumbling block, I view them as an opportunity to grow.
So when trials come in your own life, instead of saying, “God get me out of this” say, “God, what are you trying to teach me in this?” I promise you that when you make this shift in your mindset, it changes EVERYTHING.
Friend, this is something I really want you to understand: Our heavenly Father sometimes allows trials to come because resistance builds the vision God has for our lives. Not only that, but this God-centered vision builds you into the person God designed you to be. As Pastor Jesse so profoundly said, “It’s the challenging things that causes us to move to the next level.”
Okay going back to the “working out” metaphor. Have you ever done a workout and not stretched beforehand? I made this mistake early in my sports career and let me tell you…I’ve never made that mistake again. When we stretch our muscles, they might hurt for a few seconds, but the brief pain of stretching is much more bearable than the tearing and shredding of unused muscles.
Spiritually speaking, God stretches us in new ways: in leadership, at work, in relationships, in our time with Him. We might try to take shortcuts in these areas by just going for it and not allowing God to prepare our hearts, our “spiritual muscle,” before taking on the new challenge. So what happens?... It seems overwhelming. We are becoming burnt out because we don’t know how to work this new “muscle” and we’re fatiguing at a rapid rate. The weight is too heavy to bear. We don’t feel as strong as we did before. We feel like giving up…
Friend, we can avoid SO MUCH unnecessary pain and feelings of hopelessness if we just call upon the name of JESUS. Let Him enter your heart and every fiber of your being. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you, guide you, stretch you. Why? Because the more we stretch and create room for the Holy Spirit, the more we are filled with Him. This is how we don’t burn out. This is how we don’t fatigue and give up.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
STRETCH // GROW // STRENGTHEN
We can’t grow and we can’t become stronger without a holy stretching. And we can’t grow and become stronger without resistance. That is our design. We have to stretch because we’re called. We’re called to embrace the resistance and let it strengthen the vision God has for our lives. As Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (v. 1)
God’s calling on your life is bigger than the way you are living your life right now. There is SO MUCH MORE. Don’t settle for comfortable. Don’t allow the enemy to hijack your mind and get you to think that trials = misfortune. In fact, resistance = blessing. With God on our side, we are MORE than conquerors. We can count it as pure joy when we face trials because the best part is that we are operating in HIS strength and not our own.
So don’t hit that snooze…GET UP. STRETCH. EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE.
And you’ll begin to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.