Drop sets

In the Times and Seasons series, Pastor Steven Furtick taught about chronos (clock time) and kairos (opportune time). Oddly enough, I often find kairos in a place traditionally associated with chronos: the gym. We typically think of reps, sets, times, and distances when exercising, but, because the gym is my happy place, I find it is a sanctuary of kairos for me.

Pastor Furtick has been teaching about David and his journey with God in the Sticks and Stones series. I was thinking about David and the strength he exhibited when facing Goliath while doing dumbbell bench drop sets. For those of you who don’t think lifting heavy things is fun, drop sets is a series of multi-repetition sets completed in a back-to-back sequence where the weight is decreased in each subsequent set. The funny thing about drop sets is that, even though you decrease the weight, the latter sets don’t feel any lighter than the former. Physiologically, this is because you are exhausting the muscle through continuous effort. The benefit is that you can combine heavy weight early in the sequence with high reps later. However, it can be defeating mentally unless you embrace the process.

I think there is an analog in our walk with God. So many faith leaders in the Bible teach us that God is the source of our strength. For example, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13 that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. He encourages us to “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).” In Ephesians 6:10, he exhorts us to “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

However, he also teaches that God can use our weakness to display His strength. Through his own trials, he learned: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).” Peter also understood that God’s strength is sometimes best exhibited through our weakness: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10).”

Back to David… His story does not end with Goliath. That was just one set. He had many more sets to come in his walk with God. Set 2: Saul tried to kill him. Set 3: Enemies came against him as king. Set 4: His men turned on him (1 Samuel 30:6). Set 5: He strayed with Bathsheba. Set 6: He faced family problems. Despite these challenges and moments of fear and weakness, David also wrote:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalm 28:7)

I find this to be such a personal statement from David. He understood the importance of a shield because he was a warrior. He understood trusting in God’s help because he sought God’s guidance as king and saw God work on Israel’s behalf time and again. However, David was also a jubilant musician and he knew the joy of worship through music.

Even if he didn’t lift weights, David understood drop sets. He experienced God providing the strength that he needed for each set. David was a man who continued set after set, even if he was tired. He kept going and watched God be the strength he needed as he continued pushing the weight.

Go do your drop sets. Don’t quit. God is the ultimate spotter.

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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