There are hundreds of fat-burning products on the market today. There's "Grassy Tea", "Slim-in-a-hurry", "Mega-life", "Stacked up", "Zan-away your weight", (all names changed to protect ME!) There are pills, patches, liquids, and powders. All promise a quick fix to your weight loss problem and I have to admit, they all sound good. After all, who wouldn't like to "lose weight while you sleep"? We'd all be taking two or three naps a day and waking up looking like a super-model! Many of us have fallen for these promises only to find that few of these "fat-burners" actually work and worse, some are down-right dangerous! And, in all these products there seems to be one element lacking (I mean other than the fact that they don't work for most people.) None of these products build muscle. The only way I know to do that is to get out there and move....yes, you actually have to exercise in order to "burn fat" and at the same time build much needed muscle.
This morning as I forced myself to take my morning run, I passed an empty box for one of those weight loss products. I had to shake my head at all the times I'd fallen for the same empty promises until I finally began to realize that this was a battle I could fight better "on my feet". Still, it's human nature to want life to be easy. We want to follow some simple formula and never have to face a single difficulty or trial. We forget that it is resistance that builds muscle, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Without that resistance, we never build any real spiritual muscle, and without muscle, we really can't accomplish all that God has for us to do. It's sort of like those weight loss products that say they make things easy, but easy isn't what helps us get healthy and strong...it is pushing against that which resists that makes us stronger. (I know that every time I push my resistant self out the door for a run, I get a little stronger!)
There is another parallel. In exercise, you don't start out running marathons or swimming the English Channel. You start small...walking each day or actually getting into the pool. Spiritually, we face many small obstacles that ultimately build us up to the point we can deal with bigger ones. Remember David? He fought a lion and a bear before he ever faced Goliath. The "battles" we face aren't just random events. Each one strengthens us in some way, preparing us to do more. The good news is, God knows the battles you will face and He prepares you for every one if you will allow Him to.
I had a good friend once who told me something so wise, I put it on my refrigerator! He said, "I find that we don't often choose our battles, but that they are chosen for us...and if they are chosen for us, then God has made a way for us to win." I don't know about you, but to me this is VERY good news. There have been times when I wasn't too sure about whether God knew what He was doing in the battles I faced. I was sure he'd made a mistake this time and I couldn't handle what I was facing. But with each battle, I learned my limits and in the process also learned of His limitless love. With each battle I grew stronger. Even in the battles I felt I had lost, I grew in compassion, love, patience, and most of all, trust.
1 Cor. 10:13 (Message translation): "No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it."
Now there is a promise you can "run" with...or even take a nap on.