I have always been a skinny guy. While I appreciate that now – because it lets me enjoy a cheesesteak without thinking about counting calories – I haven’t always been excited to be skinny. In fact, I used to be pretty embarrassed by it. When I hit high school I started to work out to try to get bigger and stronger. However, I never really achieved any real growth. Until I started working out with Todd. Todd was about 15 years older than me. He was a former special ops soldier. He is only 5’ 2”, but the strongest and most intense person I have ever met. I knew things were going to be different when 5 minutes into our first workout together- when I had the wrong form in a bench press- he took the bar from me and punched me in the stomach, saying he wasn’t here to waste his time. I met Todd at the gym at 5:30am every morning. We would warm up sometimes by pushing his truck around the gym parking lot. I slept in one time and Todd came to my house and started pounding on my window. Being awakened by the angry knock and the stern face of a special ops guy is a pretty terrifying thing. That year, though, I put on 20 lbs of muscle and was in the best shape of my life. Working out with a partner was what led me to grow.
As Christians, we all want to grow in our walk with God. Yet, like my high school workout days, often we find ourselves not growing nearly as much as we would like. What we need is a workout partner. We can’t grow by ourselves. God tells us to,
“Encourage one another and build one another up” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”- Hebrews 3:13
“Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another” James 5:16
Growth in being a disciple of Jesus isn’t something that we are meant to pursue alone. We need spiritual brothers and sisters in our lives who can link arms with us and help us pursue Jesus with all we’ve gotThis is why I encourage you to find at least one person (or two) of your same gender and intentionally schedule regular time to meet with them and talk about life. Obviously, we can encourage, exhort, confess and pray in the natural rhythms of our lives. Some of my best conversations with guys are during football games. However, nothing beats focused “gym time” where we can get with a training partner, sit down and work to strengthen our faith. Some people call these types of things accountability groups, growth groups, fight clubs. I just call it doing what the Bible says.
Let’s continue to pursue growth in godliness — for the glory of God and as a witness to our neighbors. - Pastor Jeff
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