Spiritual Muscle

05 October, 2017

Spiritual Muscle

Autumn is peaking around the corner. The days are pleasant and the nights are refreshingly cool, perfect for evening bonfires. Before long, the leaves will begin to transform from vibrant shades of reds, oranges, and yellows to dry, brittle browns. And then, with each breath of wind, the leaves will lose their hold on the branches and gently float to the ground. This season in more northern climates is a time of preparation for the cold, winter months ahead.  The trees are conserving energy; readying themselves for the onslaught of dropping temperatures. 

Naturalist Henry David Thoreau recorded in his journal entry for October 29, 1858: “Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great antagonist Winter. In the bare trees and twigs what a display of muscle.” Followers of the Way of Jesus, citizens of the Kingdom of God, can learn from the trees during these seasons of transition. How do we prepare for the onslaught of events that are bound to occur at some point in time, events that challenge our survival as Kingdom people? What are we doing to minimize what we hold on to so that we are prepared when circumstances require a bit more muscle to weather the approaching storm?

We pour our energy into things that give us strength and endurance in our relationship with our Triune God. We let go of over-scheduled agendas and step into the pages of poetry and prose, history and metaphor contained in the Grand Narrative of our Hebrew and Christian testaments. If we are to build muscle and, to paraphrase Thoreau, strip ourselves in earnest for the contest with the antagonist that is bound to challenge us, then we had better know how to let go of our finery for a season. We had better know how to pour our strength into our basic need—strong roots that connect us to the source, a relationship with our Creator God through the redemption offered to us in Christ Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is time to rest from constant production and focus on what we need to survive the turbulent storms of life, to settle into holy habits that build muscle, spiritual muscle. Only then will be prepared to endure the tougher seasons that are bound to come. 

*Resource: Roger Di Silvestro. National Wildlife Federation’s Blog. Sept 05, 2014.