Thursday, September 19, 2013

Words, slogans and the truth

Words have power.
Just ask a bodybuilder. They love their slogans. "No pain no gain." "Shut up and squat." "You earn your body." "Lightweight baby." "Excuses are for people who don't want it bad enough."
The list could go on and on. But you get the mental picture, right?...the big, muscle bulging lifter in the gym standing over a little scrawny, newbie who is struggling with a barbell. The veteran heavyweight is yelling at the little guy, "Come on, you pansy! You lift like a girl! My Momma lifts more than that!"
Aren't you inspired reading such encouragement and uplifting motivation?
Oh, you're not?
Me neither.

Words have the power to build us up or to tear us down. Words can stunt our growth or send us soaring to new heights. Words can inspire us to take action or shame us into moving forward. They can be small, just a few syllables, but words can have a significant and lasting impact.
I was struck by the power of words this weekend as I engaged in rigorous exercise with my sisters in Christ at the International Christian Wellness Conference. As we jumped around the room for Revelation Wellness and held downward dog for longer than I thought my arms could stand, the words of scripture were poured out through the voices of our instructors and the music they played. Prayers were being prayed, the messages of the Psalms and words of the Gospels were being proclaimed and praises to God were being sung.
I became overwhelmed with love and mercy. The overpowering of the Holy Spirit came upon me like a hug. When I let my mind focus in on the words that were being proclaimed my body became renewed with God-given endurance. The yoga poses that made my arms shake became an act of surrender and crying out to my God. The interval training of the wellness class became an act of worship. My heart and body was being filled with something heavenly.
There is not a single workout slogan or mantra that could ever give me that kind of strength. Those empty words that shout "Just do it" can't renew my spirit. They leave my soul empty and my body tired. That isn't the kind of workout I'm craving. I want a workout that takes my spirit to new heights and leaves my body feeling reinvigorated and reignited to go forth in service to the Lord. I want to walk away from a workout not feeling beaten down but feeling lifted up.
The words I heard during those workouts did just that. I finished the hour of aerobic activity and muscle conditioning feeling a strength I didn't have when I entered the room. My resources didn't feel depleted. Instead of exerting all the energy I could muster, I was being filled with energy by God's indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He used the scripture to sustain me. Praise came flowing from my lips and worship became the attitude of my heart.
It is astounding the impact that words can have on the way we see the world around us. They shape the way we see everyday circumstances and major life events. We have the free will to turn our ears to the words of God and let our airwaves be filled with truth. A set of circumstances that look like all doom and gloom can be transformed by the power of proclaiming God's promises and the truth found in scripture. A challenging workout can be taken from a test of muscle endurance to a spiritual renewal. What was once difficult becomes enjoyable. What was once negative can become positive.
The words you speak into your life and the words that fill your airwaves will have a profound impact on who you are. The choice is yours. Will you fill yourself with the mantras of this world that tell you to dig deeper within yourself to tough it out? Or will you listen to the word of God that tells you to dig deeper into HIM and let him fill you with the endurance and sustenance to soar on the wings of eagles? The choose is simple - as simple as a syllable or two. Yet, the impact it will have on your life is nothing short of radical.

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