Every morning when I’m home in San Diego, I go to a gym to work out with a trainer. His name is Todd Durkin, and he’s one of the best trainers in the country—and one of the best things that’s happened to me in recent years. Besides the fact that he’s an incredible physical fitness expert and a dynamic motivator, Todd is also a Christ-follower.
Todd and I often talk about the similarities of physical training and spiritual training. Recently we were talking about weight lifting and the two different approaches athletes adopt when they’re in training. Here’s what I learned: Heavy weights, lifted fewer times in succession, produce greater strength. Lighter weights, lifted with more repetitions, produce greater endurance.
When it comes to life, most of us can lift a heavy weight if we only have to do it once or twice. In other words, major problems that come and then go away quickly may be painful, but they are usually manageable. For me, it’s not the big problems that are the hardest.
For me, the problems that are the toughest to overcome are the problems that never seem to get solved . . . the ones that keep coming back. God wants us to be strong men and women of faith. To achieve that, I believe we must become men and women of resilience and endurance. If I cannot stand strong under the adversity of unrelenting pressure, I’ll lose the joy of the journey.
The complexity of life can make our journey feel like the extreme obstacle courses and endurance runs we see on television. These games, whose competitors are people like us, are a metaphor for life today. The overwhelming pressures of our lives are symbolized by the near-impossible feats they must face. We identify with those “average superhuman” athletes. Their stories inspire and encourage us. If they can endure, we can endure. If they can hang on by their fingertips, maybe we can too.
There is a verse in the Bible that never ceases to challenge me. It’s Hebrews 10:36, which states simply,
You have need of endurance.
Endurance is needed for godly living because few things about life are easy. While we shouldn’t face each day with grim determination, we need something to carry us. Life requires a sustained determination to remain strong and faithful—step-by-step, day by day, and moment by moment. As Leo Tolstoy said in War and Peace, “A man on a thousand-mile walk has to . . . say to himself every morning, ‘Today I’m going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep.’”
David Jeremiah, A Life beyond Amazing: 9 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life Today (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017).
I have just completed a series of lessons based on David Jeremiah’s book, A Life Beyond Amazing. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year.