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Like many people, I’m getting back into the gym. As I hopped on the bench press, I was reminded by my ego of how much I used to lift. But my ego has got me in trouble before.
On one occasion, I was working out next to this guy who was training deadlifts (a lower back exercise) with a lady-friend. I thought to myself, “I will show this puny man (who was actually quite buff) how to impress a woman!” I slapped on 90 pounds more than he was lifting--and began repping.
With each rep, I let out a cry of brute prowess to ensure that the couple—and everyone within earshot--could see how a real man lifts. (and hear how a real man lifts!) But as I began to finish my set—8, ahhh! 9 ahhh! 10—AHHHHH! My back, my back! OMG, MY BACK!
One ear went loud, the other, went deaf. Dizzy dizzy I very got! I couldn’t even breathe. I was on the verge of losing consciousness--and I was still holding the weight. Dropping it meant hurting my ego, right next to the couple that I had been flexing on.
I calmly lowered the weight, then walked over to a yoga mat to lie down for the next few hours.
With this lesson in mind, I decided to start humbly—lifting much less weight than I previously had. But what would really help is a gym buddy; I could really use the help of someone to encourage me, to focus me, and most importantly, to spot me.
When someone spots you, it enables you to push to the point of failure as opposed to racking up the weights when you think you can’t do any more. Without a spotter, we’d probably quit a set before reaching this point because, well, we don’t weights collapsing on us.
But if we do have a spotter, yet refuse to give it our all, we nullify the purpose of having a spotter-he’s made pointless.
When Jesus was called ‘good teacher’, He countered by saying, “why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” The very core of Christianity is coming to the understanding that we are not intrinsically good people. We’re all driven by lust, by greed, by pride--overall selfishness. Even acts that appear selfless may kick back a reward.
On one side of the prism, a person may flex his/her self-righteousness. On the other side, a person may ‘rack up the weights’ too early (essentially, not give a whole-hearted attempt at reaching holiness). This nullifies the purpose of Jesus Christ, who is able to encourage us, focus us, and most importantly, to spot us.
We all have our own weights— envy, addiction, lust, pride—whatever they may be, don’t rack the weight just because you think you can’t. When we do that, we nullify the purpose have having Jesus spot us--He’s made pointless. Jesus is there for us when we fail, but not so we can quit, and not so we can flex on others.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1