I started working out with weights while I was in college. My best friend, John, was planning on joining the Marine Corps after he graduated and wanted someone to bulk up with. Prior to my junior year at the University of Connecticut, strength training was a foreign concept. Any exercise I did was purely cardio; which explains why I weighed only 135 lbs for most of my college life.
I quickly learned that lifting weights was painful. The day after my first workout with John, I could barely move my arms. The day after that was even worse! “It will get better,” he said to me.
After the soreness went away, we went back to “the cage” as the gym in the field house was known back then. After a month or so of strength training four days a week I noticed two things; I was getting stronger and I was getting bigger. My friends started to notice too, “Dude, like your getting big,” my roommate ‘flounder’ said to me one day. I was no longer sore after every workout but only after those where we pushed ourselves. Over time, I learned to enjoy the soreness that came after pushing myself hard; it was like a little reminder that there was always room to grow.
The lessons I learned about resistance training were simple; increase the resistance and increase your strength. Keep the resistance the same, and your body will get complacent and not change; you will plateau. Stop working out all together, and you will loose what you have worked so hard to gain.
There is a parallel in our spiritual lives. Consider that sin can be like a barbell coming towards us as if we were doing a bench press. When our faith lives are strong, we can push sin away more easily. When our faith lives are weak, we have a harder time avoiding sin and, over time, a weakening resistance to sin can lead to it crushing us.
As we get older, the temptation to sin can get bigger as can the sins we are tempted by. As such, it is important to continually grow in our faith so that we can more easily resist sin. There is an unfortunate reality, though. Many of us were born into a faith and spent years, largely at the insistence of our parents, building up our strength in that faith. However, adulthood comes along and we are likely not under the watchful eyes of mom and dad who always “prodded” us to going to church at least once a week.
Adulthood, therefore, is not the time to walk away from faith because we can get away with it. Rather, it is the time to start practicing the faith more seriously so that we can be strong enough to push away the bigger sins that will come our way.