When I was a teenager, I was pretty disciplined in sticking to a weightlifting routine that my high school football and track coach helped me establish, particularly in the summer months. While I do not recall my coach ever telling me that I would look a certain way, gain a certain amount of weight, or run a certain speed if I stuck to the weight training, I had in my mind all of the above (and more). Surely I will get a lot bigger and be a lot faster, I thought. With weightlifting, I assumed there was some promise of power and strength that I could expect.
I never did get as strong as I had hoped, as big as I had hoped, or as fast as I had hoped, though. Still, the weight training definitely did help. My coach knew what he was talking about, as did my dad – who was my basketball coach and also emphasized strength and conditioning training throughout the year. While I never achieved the speed and strength I dreamed of, I did improve. For example, while I did not grow taller after my freshman year of high school, my weight increased from 120 pounds my freshman year to 135 pounds my sophomore year to 155 pounds my junior year, to 170 pounds my senior year.
After football practice one day my freshman year, one of my senior teammates jokingly asked me in the shower, “When the wind blows, do you just fall over?” I tried to laugh, but his mockery hurt because he was right. Sometimes strong gusts of wind probably did knock me over.
Strength training did pay off eventually, however. While far from where I had hoped to be, there was some improvement. All those push-ups, sit-ups, jumping rope, plyometrics, weightlifting, running, etc. were not in vain (at least not completely).
Why did I not get as big, strong, and fast as some of my teammates, though? Simple answer – I was not made like them. Sure, there could certainly be a degree of training and consistency that would have helped more, perhaps, but we can only do so much to improve our conditions. Despite what some fools will try to tell you, you cannot “do anything you put your mind to.”
Yes, there are benefits to the disciplines of things like exercise, but the benefits are limited by our genetic makeup. I was never going to be as fast as our all-state backs or as strong as our all-state linebacker. Sure, I improved enough to be a starting cornerback for two years, but that might have been my football ceiling.
Promises are always limited, at least when it comes to our promises and abilities.
While you and I cannot “do anything we put our minds to,” we can do far more when we know and follow the One who made us. He is not limited like we are.
As a 6-foot, 170-pound 18-year-old with average speed and strength, I was on no one’s radar as an NFL or NBA prospect. No one was recruiting me or “feeding my dreams” anymore. My promise was limited by my physical abilities (and lack thereof). That was difficult for me to accept at the time, but it was what it was.
Our Almighty God, though, is not limited like we are. He is the Creator of the universe and in control of all things. So, when He calls us to live the life He has created us to live, He can and will equip us to live such a life.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will begin a new sermon series through the Book of Acts and preach through Acts 1:1-11 on “The Promise of Power for Our Purpose” (available Sunday evening HERE). I will be challenging those willing to listen that we must trust and depend on God’s promise of power to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
THE PROMISE OF POWER
No amount of “training” will get us to where God intends for us to go – not physically and not spiritually. We need Him. He is the Promise of Power we need. His Holy Spirit is the One who will guide us, enable us, and equip us to be the people He has called us to be.
Sure, do your best to follow His Word. Be disciplined by having daily time with Him in Bible study and prayer, by serving in His church, and by seeking to live out your faith. Realize all the while, though, that you can do absolutely nothing without Him (see Jesus’ words in John 15).
The Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised to all his followers is the Only One who will enable you to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. Are you trusting and depending on Him?
Sure, I worked hard in high school and reaped some benefits from the hard work and discipline, but God is the One who gave me arms and legs, who gave me health and stamina, who kept me safe, and who allowed me to do any of that, whether I realized and accepted this truth or not.
Likewise, God is the One who gives His Spirit, who calls His people, and who equips His people. Have you trusted in Him? Are you continuously trusting in Him?
Discover His purpose for your life by being in His Word and being involved in a faithful, Bible-believing church. Live out His purpose for your life by depending on Him – the Promise of Power. To God be the glory!