For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to your goodness knowledge; — 2 Peter 1:5
I have been very inconsistent at working out. I’ve sporadically worked out for several months at a time ever since I was sixteen. Usually, I get in pretty good shape, life happens, and I just quit, rinse, and repeat the cycle. Well, when Covid hit, I quickly found myself being lazy, eating a lot, and gaining the Covid – 19 . . . pounds that is. I thought, “Well, I don’t really have anything else to do,” so I started back in the gym and have stuck with it for probably my longest period ever.
With that being said, I’ve always wanted to bench press 225 pounds. It is just a weightlifting benchmark for someone to be able to put 4 of those 45-pound weights on a 45-pound bar and do it. I tried several times along the way with no success. I only count it if I take it off the rack, rep it, and then put it back. This past Friday, I finally did it.
I got to thinking about why it happened. I didn’t go to the weight room thinking I was going to get it. I didn’t even go with making the attempt in mind. I just put 135 on the bar and started warming up. It just happened to feel super easy . . . way easier than it ever had before. So, I said to myself, “I think today is the day.” I asked a guy to spot me, put the weights on, and did it.
Sorry I took 3 paragraphs to explain that, but God spoke to me in all of this. It was kind of a rebuke, but I’m thankful He did. Without realizing it, I’ve made these future goals for myself, and I’ve never really done that before. Ever since my early 20’s, I have simply pursued God, and He has literally opened every door to these huge milestones in my life: who I would marry, where I would work, when we would have kids, where I would preach . . . etc. It has always worked this way. Now, I’m starting to focus on these financial goals and suddenly I’m trying to plan things out and work towards my retirement. It’s like God simply said, “Your retirement is exactly like 225.” I immediately understood.
I don’t need to be getting ahead of myself. If I’m going to really be making a hardcore effort in life, the Bible tells me what I need to be working on. I need to add to my faith goodness. How about I just get back to working like I’m working for Him? How about I just look for every opportunity I can to represent Him well? I could type a whole WMD on this, but I’ve gotten bad off track with this one.
I need to add to my goodness knowledge. I have been studying the Word, but for the past couple of years, I just don’t have the same zeal I had while studying it years ago. I want that back. The Bible goes on in the next verse to say, “and to knowledge self-control.” Another word I saw for self-control was steadfastness. The idea behind steadfastness was “holding up a great weight.” I really could not believe what I was seeing after God spoke this to me with the whole benching 225 thing. I don’t have to make retirement a goal. I don’t have to pursue ease and comfort. God will work things out, just like He always has. He will continue to open the right doors and make sure the right things happen as far as my future is concerned.
Here is the thing: The narrow path that leads to life is a difficult one. It is like so very few people care or even notice if we veer from it. We are to pick up our cross and carry it. Unfortunately, it feels like setting it down is so easy to do, especially in the United States of America. How many people do you know that really and truly deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Jesus Christ?
Lord, with all my heart I want to follow You. I don’t want in this last half of my life to live for comfort. I don’t want to live as if I’ve learned enough about Your Word and read it enough times. I don’t want to put my effort in the wrong things. Help me make the effort to add to the faith I have in You. Grant me a will to pursue goodness. Grant me a mind that goes after true and pure knowledge. Grant me the strength to carry my cross to the end. Let me not pursue the wrong things. Most of all, Lord, will You grant me a heart that falls crazy in love with You that I might meet the greatest commandment to love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. Amen.