The Borg say, “Resistance is Futile.”
I think a truer statement is actually “Resistance is NECESSARY!”
During the warm-down period at the end of my deep water work out class on Monday, I was thinking about this concept of “resistance.” (I have these profound thoughts as I paddle, lunge, kick and plunge from wall to wall during my deep water running class. )
Water workouts are based on resistance training. Resistance builds and maintains muscle mass. Resistance helps strengthen muscle groups and this takes pressure off of your joints. Resistance is also part of that load-bearing work that keeps your bones stronger, and is good for your cardiovascular system. (I’m sure my doctor does a little jig every time she hears that I really, truly AM doing regular exercise. See? I WAS paying attention!)
In my personal and spiritual life, resistance challenges my resolve. It forces me to prioritize and decide if I really want to do something. And it shows the depth of my dedication. Whether it’s exercise, personal challenges or spiritual discouragement, I have to confess that when I meet resistance, I either push too hard (because I’m being stubborn) or I give up way too soon (because it’s a convenient excuse.)
But resistance also came to mind as I pondered the verses that we studied this week:
From 2 Peter 1 (Common English Bible):
3 By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. 4 Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.
5 This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love.
8 If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 Whoever lacks these things is shortsighted and blind, forgetting that they were cleansed from their past sins.
There’s many places where I find it “easier” to reflect “life and godliness” and many (MANY!) places where I struggle. But rather than cataloguing my weak areas, perhaps the best thing to remember is that it is not by my own efforts (in either passive or active resistance) that changes can come.
No, it’s in the first four words of this passage… BY HIS DIVINE POWER… we have been given everything we need. This isn’t some kind of feel-good juju mama magic. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s not the ecstatic, whooping, barking, hooting, dancing work of the Spirit. It’s the day-to-day grind it out business of loving and serving God. Hefting some spiritual barbells, if you will…
That gives me a whole different perspective. It gives me a little more courage to try again and again. It reminds me that when I face opposition, I can base my resolve not on my own knowledge or intuition or sheer guts, but on knowing that I’ve got God’s power behind me. And my resistance to getting personally, spiritually and morally side-tracked will grow.
This is a life-long challenge. The road goes on, seemingly forever, with constant challenges on the road of resistance. But I’m ready for another lap.