That title makes me laugh. I can see Hans and Frans from Saturday night live years ago with their fake muscle suits and sweats saying “we will pump you up.” OK, for some reading this (especially not in the US) you might not have a clue about the obscure reference. So let me bring it back to this reality.
Anyone who has done anything which should be everyone…you have practiced or trained or learned how to do whatever IT is. I have lifted weights in the muscle gym most of my life. I messed around with body building and power lifting when I was younger. Now I make an occasional appearance to crank out a WOD for Cross Fit but even those pain producing excursions are infrequent now. I just like to ride my mountain bike and enjoy my podcast. I get to spend time with Jesus in the great outdoors. But I do remember all those reps of bench press and blood pressure raising squats. “One more rep, come on you wimp!”
You will often hear people say “this walk with Jesus is a process. Getting rid of sin in our lives takes discipline.” Or maybe they say “your sanctification and righteousness are positional and not practical so you need to work on it, wimp!” I added the wimp part but sometimes they use much more damaging words like eternal damnation and destruction or weeping and gnashing of teeth, OUCH! I’m sorry but none of that is true. Believe that Jesus saved you, your saved. Ask God to come into your life and make you new, born again, He does. Want to live in the kingdom of Heaven, just step right in through the cross. It isn’t hard or difficult. It doesn’t require a bunch of reps. You just believe. You just have faith in a good and loving and providing God of Grace. Really it is that simple. Jesus did the heavy lifting already we are just learning what it looks like to live from His Grace.
Still there is a process. Want to know what that is?
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (ESV)
We are being perfected in love. God’s love is being perfected in us. We are learning to live from and give away His perfect love. We have to “learn” how to Love Much (take a look at that post if you missed it). When we sit at His feet we are washed with His love. When we hang out with the Holy Spirit we are being pickled by His love. When we come into the throne room of our Father He reveals more and more of His love for us and all the whole world. He became and man and died for the whole world because He loved it and us. So that is pretty big love don’t you think? It is a “process” to soak all that in. Actually being baptized is being pickled. We soak in His amazing love and goodness and our hard hearts are tenderized, our fallen Adam thinking is transformed by our mind of Christ, our selfish desires are metamorphed into His desires implanted by Him, our bad habits, bad choices, bad behavior, bad everything is eclipsed by His goodness and love. Our tears…joy. Our sadness…happiness. Our suffering…?
Long way around this mountain but I want to get back to the “heavy lifting” and “reps” for Hans. First remember Jesus says our burden is light. He does the heavy lifting. We take His yoke and He does the hard work. Also the lies of God-given thorns need to be crushed. Check out this post about thorns. The one sentence summary is God does not hurt you to teach you a lesson. His idea of discipline is to teach us to rely on Him and not ourselves. Our “reps” are choosing to trust Jesus in all situations. Our “burden” is to always believe God is with us no matter what. Our muscle-building exercises are learning to seek more of Jesus, more power from the Holy Spirit and more of the goodness of God. The enemy wants us to believe that God isn’t good. Even man-made religion will plant seeds of doubt declaring God gives you horrible and fatal diseases to teach you a lesson. That is one huge lie.
Still there are some exercises involved in this journey. Here is a passage you might know:
Rom 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
I now know what this highlighted part means. Want to know? First what it isn’t. It isn’t our acceptance of our sucky situation as “just life” or worse “God’s will.” Nope it isn’t that because that isn’t from Jesus but from the devil. You decide. What it is however, is our “exercises for glory.” Don’t worry this wont hurt a bit (if you are dead) and requires no heavy lifting (if you are trusting God).
Glory is one of those “churchy” words that looses it’s meaning in fear based religion. Think of it this way: You walk into the throne room (living room) of you Abba. His goodness is so powerful that you actually feel it. His goodness is so infinite it blasts diseases out of your body. His goodness is something you can see and smell and feel. His goodness is sooooooooooooo big it has properties of its own. When the glory of God comes on the scene everything changes. When the absolute goodness of God is manifested in your vicinity all the “humans” present can’t bear the weight of it. That is the glory of God. His “good report” is so good that it does stuff to change stuff. Glory is powerful. That is what Paul is talking about.
He says we get “glorified with Him.” That means exactly what you think it means. To be brief…you touch dead people and they wake up. You encounter an alcoholic and they are set free. You engage with a broken and hurt family member and they are overcome by the goodness and love of God. This is what Jesus did when He walked the Earth. This is what the Holy Spirit does through and with us now.
So I have asked God often why I don’t see more of the miraculous? I see some people healed. I see many people touched by His love. I see lots of amazing things but not to the extent I would call it being “glorified with Him.” He showed me that the other part of this verse is the answer. Suffering. Don’t be alarmed. You can’t go to the cross, Jesus already did that and He said it was a cup that only He could bear. You aren’t required to be beaten or broken or killed or shot or water boarded or anything like that. No, you just continue to declare the goodness of God and guess what…the “suffering” shows up.
The more I declare the goodness of God the more I see it. People get angry, really angry at me when I say Jesus is the answer. They get irate when I say God is good, really good. Their reaction is perplexing and strange, to me, but expected from the enemy or a fallen thinking Adam. Even the “church” has sided with the concept that a good God needs to be balanced. The more I refuse to do that the more I get the “who do you think you are?” That used to hurt my feelings. Now it doesn’t, not at all. Why? EXERCISES. When I respond with the love of God…one more rep. When I respond with the goodness of God…one more rep. When I stay true to my faith in a loving, powerful, miraculous, supernatural, good God…one more rep.
This is awesome! God is perfecting His love in me and the more I get squeezed the more of Him that is coming out. Pretty soon His perfected love and my spirit-man will be so huge and pumped up that people and the enemy are going to have to deal with the Holy Spirit. Pretty soon I am going to get squeezed and Jesus is going to jump out. Pretty soon this clay pot will have the muscles of Arnold and Conan the Lion of Judah is going to show up. Pretty soon the enemy is going to squeeze one too many times and he is going to have to deal with the glory of God.
So I say bring on the “suffering.” It happened to Jesus. They called Him a demon, Beelzebub, blasphemer and law-breaker. He healed on the Sabbath and they wanted to kill Him. He said the religious scripture scourer could see God by seeing Jesus not looking to their rules and they wanted to arrest Him. He said He came to save them and they wanted to stone Him.
I would say I have a pretty awesome workout partner.
So here is my warning to the enemy (and any people who want to agree with his tactics): Pretty soon you are going to have to deal with my Dad and He is really amazing. So squeeze away. Don’t be surprised when Jesus comes out! I say we all let Jesus Pump You Up! I think Jesus would laugh at that skit don’t you?