Updated: Oct 28
I’ve been doing a new thing… exercise. Well, it isn’t entirely new to me. I was first introduced to lifting weights when I had entered my freshman year of high school. That summer, my grandpa and I would go every single day (unless I slept in). It was hands down one of my favorite moments I have had with him. It got to the point where the “can’t hardly wait” attitude of lifting weights turned into the anticipation of getting in his two-seater Toyota pickup and just share in good company. It was 30 minutes, round-trip to the gym we went to- and I would not trade it for the world. He had taught me everything I know about lifting weights.
Skip forward to today, I have not lifted seriously for about a year and a half. I thought,” maybe lifting my at-home dumbbells from my living room to the moving trailer counts?” I asked Arnold (Schwarzenegger), no dice. Here is my biggest take away from my first two weeks- I. AM. SORE! Everything hurts, to the point where I had to take the rest of my first week off due to injury! I hadn’t warmed up properly with one of my muscle groups, I just figured I just hop back to it like I used to- no warm up, throw around some iron, go home. Think of how an old rubber band cracks and breaks under pressure- these youthful muscles of mine were about to blow!
I had learned very quickly after my first gym visit back- that the old way just wasn’t going to work out anymore. I needed a new way of approaching my workouts. I had learned this at the gym- as well as in my own life. Much like my mishap with not warming up properly- we all come to a point where we come to a cross road. This cross road has two different routes you can take. One- you can circle back and (after all that you have learned, good or bad experiences) repeat the old way of living life. The other road however, is not like the first. It isn’t manicured, it’s untamed, there’s not really a clear trail in sight. However, it is marked by three trail markers that reads,” The way. The truth. The life.”
Here is an important note: without Christ being our life, choosing a “new way of doing life” isn’t choosing a better way than we used to function in the past. It’s almost the same trail with a different trail head marker. We are still doing life out of our own strength. When we ask Jesus to come and be our life, when we declare His name above every name, when we choose to receive the gift of salvation. Only then will things truly begin to take shape, and through that new life- comes a beautiful new way of doing life. A life led by the Holy Spirit.
The old way, with all the “good” or “bad” emotions and events associated with it- couldn’t provide life. But the new, in all of its glory, provides a way that we may live from another source of life. Christ’s life.
In Colossians, as well as in other places in the Epistles- Paul contrasts the differences between our old selves (a life we formerly knew, B.C. (Before Christ)) and our new selves,” which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator…” Col. 3:10 [also see 2 Corinthians 5:17] Our new self looks like us, talks like us, lives like us. Only, the source of life isn’t us… read that again. [see Romans 6:4] Our newness of life can be simply put this way. I am quoting from the Message translation of the Bible. It isn’t word for word, but idea for idea. No matter the translation, it still provides truth and pierces deep.
“Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life- even though invisible to spectators- is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too- the real you, the glorious you… And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy… You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it.” Colossians 3:3-11 (paraphrased) MSG
I like to equate my drives from my home in Goodland, Kansas to Burlington, Colorado with my conversations with my grandpa on the way to the gym. The realization is this. Much like my conversation with my grandpa, in all the belly laughs, tough subjects, realizations, whatever else I am missing. The same talks come from that 30 minute ride from Kansas to Colorado- except the conversation isn’t with my grandpa, but with Father. Those 30 minutes are worth the time.
For every season of life, put on the new, put on grace, put on Christ. This isn’t law, Christ’s life will flow naturally, like living waters. [see John 7:38,39] We are invited to participate in the divine life of Christ, we don’t need to do for the life of Christ- we get to be in the life of Christ- sort of like a banquet. Through every season, God will express Himself through us. God provides a time and place for everything. [See Ecclesiastes 3:1-8] There is never a dull moment in the new. Enjoy the new!