The following blog is from a sermon that I preached at our church last Sunday, called “How to Survive the Spin Cycle: Use Resistance Right”. It will be published in sections.
Can you imagine being victorious over all of the resistance that comes into your life? You can. And I’m about to tell you how.
In the early Fall, our Pastors taught a series on Endurance. What a timely word. Well, around the time that they began the series, the Lord was beginning to speak to my heart about something along the same lines. He was teaching me about resistance. I think we all can agree that resistance and endurance pretty much go hand in hand. Without something to resist, there would be no need for endurance.
So can we have a little science lesson for a moment? In case you don’t remember much from freshman science, resistance is the force of one object pressing against another. An object is attempting to move in a certain direction and another object opposes that forward motion. Resistance is a force, like gravity – it’s neither good nor bad. Without the resistance of your car tires on the road, your car wouldn’t move forward.
But, I think it’s safe to say that in our lives, most of us think of resistance negatively. Most of the resistance that we focus on comes in the form of experiences that oppose our forward motion and cause us pain, frustration and can exhaust us beyond our ability to handle it.
In our finances, for instance: we want more money to feel comfortable and have security, but bills, unexpected expenses, or a job that doesn’t pay enough resist our desires and expectations. In our marriage: we want a happy marriage but the person we’re married to just won’t get in line and do what we want – they resist our desires and expectations!
So the resistance that comes from sickness, addiction, our unyielding spouse or children must be the problem, right? Wrong.
I want to challenge your thinking and tell you that resistance is NOT the problem. Our perspective on resistance is the problem. I heard a preacher say, “Your perspective is either your prison or your passport.”
If our perspective on resistance isn’t aligned with the truth, it becomes our prison. But if we view the resistance in our lives the right way, our pain will be a passport to take us places we wouldn’t have been able to go any other way. In this message, I hope to shed some light on resistance – what it is and God’s intention for it – so that we can use it right.
So we’re going to have a quick Bible history lesson so I can lay some groundwork to show you God’s intention for resistance.
Let’s go back to beginning – back to Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve were created, where did they live? On earth, in the Garden. Who tempted them to eat the fruit from the tree that they weren’t supposed to eat fruit from? Satan, the serpent. Now let me ask you this: Where did that serpent come from? How did he get in that perfect place? That’s the part that many of us totally overlook.
The answer to how Satan got there is this: He was on earth before Adam and Eve were formed. You see, when Satan and 1/3 of the angels rebelled against God, God threw them out of Heaven down to – the earth! (Ezek 28:13,17, Luke 10_18-20)
God could have thrown them to Mars or to the Moon; but no, he threw them out to a planet without form and void that he knew would someday be OUR home.
Let me ask you another question: In the Garden, did Adam and Eve float around in zero gravity like the astronauts do as soon as they leave earth’s atmosphere? No, because God had created the earth to be governed by a force called gravity. Our planet has gravity unlike any other planet in our solar system. It’s just enough to keep us on the ground without crushing our fragile bone structure. But nevertheless, God created a planet that resists us – we have to use muscles to open our chest cavity to breathe, and to stand up and walk, even to support our spine while we sit. If those muscles stop working – stop pushing against the resistance of our atmosphere – the atmosphere wins and we stop breathing and moving.
So God created Adam and Eve on a planet where they would experience physical and spiritual resistance. That was his plan. Adam and Eve didn’t experience this resistance AFTER the fall, but BEFORE it.
It was the fact that they didn’t use the resistance properly that caused the mess not the presence of the resistance itself. Let me say that again – It was the fact that they didn’t use the resistance properly that caused the mess not the presence of the resistance itself.
God allowed Satan in the Garden knowing full well what Satan was like. But Adam and Eve were supposed to take a different tact with him than they did, not yield under the pressure. They were supposed to do what God told them to do: “Subdue the earth; Rule over it.” The earth was Satan’s environment, but Adam and Eve were supposed to subdue him in the power and strength they were given as God’s children. They were supposed to use the resistance that the enemy brought into their environment and leverage it to experience God’s power and authority working through them and thereby bring God glory.
‘Subdue’ and ‘Rule over’ are war words. We were born into a fight. But it is a fight we were created to win in God’s strength, with His Spirit, through intimate fellowship with the Father. We were NOT created to take matters into our own hands and that’s where Adam and Eve blew it.
Today I’m going to be speaking to you about How to Survive the Spin Cycle – Use Resistance Right. That’s a metaphor. You know what a spin cycle is on your washing machine, right? It’s the cycle where the clean wet clothes get spun at a high rate of speed to wring all the water out. That’s a pretty apt description of how most of us feel when life throws resistance our way. We feel wrung out.
But there’s another kind of spin that I’m going to talk about today. It’s a type of exercise class called spin class.
How many of you are familiar with what a spin class is? Essentially, it’s riding a bike but going nowhere. The bike doesn’t look at all like a street bike as it’s designed to be stationary while creating the feeling of riding outside.
I’m going to use some of the elements of a spin class as a metaphor for how we can Survive the Spin Cycle and Use Resistance Right. Resistance is not the enemy – our response to and perspective of resistance is what cripples us.
But before we get started, we’ve got to go to spin class!
Welcome back! On the video, you saw me demonstrate the resistance knob. That knob is your “Frenemy”. It’s your friend and your enemy. It’s your friend because without any resistance on the bike, there would be no exercise – no cardiovascular benefit or increased endurance. You’d just be spinning your legs around. But this knob is your enemy when you have to keep pushing through the resistance you just laid on the bike, the instructor yells out to increase your pace and you want to throw up!
My first point is:
- Use Resistance Right by Understanding that resistance makes you stronger.
Let me tell you how this message started percolating in me: Last summer I was going through a time where every single area of my life was under attack. I literally couldn’t look at one area of my life and not see stress, pressure and resistance. Not one. I felt like I was on the Medieval torture device called The Rack and I was being pulled by my hands and feet in opposite directions until I snapped!
I don’t know if the Lord does this with you, but He uses everyday things to teach me about myself, to take blinders off of areas that I’m not seeing myself clearly in, and to bring alignment to attitudes. So one day, I was in my spin class, sweating, my legs feeling like noodles, my heart pounding out of my chest, and hitting an endurance wall. I was digging down deep to pull up the last reserves I had to get through the song we were in. And all of a sudden, I heard the Lord say, “Why are you doing this? Why are you putting yourself through this agony? You SIGN UP for this torture! And you pay that instructor to drill you into the ground twice a week! Why are you doing this to yourself?”
To which I replied in my heart, “I do it for the benefit. I like the way I feel after class. I like the feeling of having conquered this really tough class. I like the feeling of fitness that I have all the time now. I like how my clothes fit.”
To which the Lord replied, “OK. That’s great. Now how about if you take that same perspective that you have in spin where you focus on the benefits, and take that perspective into every other area of your life. Instead of complaining and saying, ‘This is awful. It’s getting worse. I don’t know how I’m going to make it,’ and focusing on the pain and agony of the situation, why don’t you say, ‘I’m getting stronger. I’m getting more mature and spiritually fit. I’m going to see a side of God’s care and provision that I’ve never seen before. I’m going to have a testimony of God’s grace that will help other people some day’? Why don’t you take the “I like getting stronger” perspective into every area of your life and see how it changes the way you feel about the resistance you’re facing.”
Wow! What a game changer.
That’s when the Lord began to teach me that in our lives we were created to use the resistance that the enemy brings into our environment and leverage it to experience God’s power and authority bringing glory to God. In the Bible we see that there isn’t one person including – and especially – Jesus Himself who didn’t experience resistance and hardship of some sort. How they endured resistance is what distinguishes them from many of us – not the existence of resistance in their lives.
I can hear someone say, “Good for you, Jesus. You overcame the world because You’re God. I’m not. And I’m pretty sure that the world is overcoming me right now. How does the fact that You overcame the world have anything to do with me?”
Well, I’ll tell you what it has to do with you. I have never seen a body walking around without a head, and I have never seen a head bobbing down the street without a body. Where the head is, the body is. So if our Head, Jesus Christ, is seated in heavenly places, above every name that is named and has overcome the world – guess where you are? You got it – you’re seated there with him. The thing that needs to change is your perspective that keeps looking around at the problems instead up to the Solution Maker.
So in the words of this metaphor, don’t jump off the bike the second you break a sweat. And don’t quit after the first class because you didn’t see instant results.
To be continued…