Muscles for the Mountains by Carolyn Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Tucker



I readily admit that I don’t have cheerleader qualities — it takes a lot of strong muscles to stack people on top of each other and not collapse. I’m also mesmerized at the ability of  individuals who can to do the same thing at the same time with a bunch of other people.  My daughter played saxophone in the Pitt State marching band and, as an onlooker, I was astonished. If I’d been in the band, I would have spent most of my time on the ground  being trampled because I would have been out of sync with everybody else.


I’ve celebrated a number of birthdays and often say, “I ain’t 22 anymore.” Recently, my two kids and I had a frank conversation about aging muscles. Shortly afterwards, I joined the fitness center in order to stand firm and fight against the course of nature. Everything was fine until the day my trainer, Mr. Flex, had me do 30 minutes of squats with hand weights. Apparently, I hadn’t used those particular muscles since grade school. I was impressed that I could even walk to my vehicle on rubbery gelatin legs like that. Lying down in the parking lot and getting run over almost seemed like a realistic option.


The choices we make today impact the quality of our lives spiritually and physically. Our spiritual health can be compared to our physical health because we’re equipped with both types of muscles. But we have to work at staying strong — it doesn’t just happen automatically. We have to make the choice to do preventive maintenance and upgrading  on purpose. The road of life is often uphill and we need to be strong in order to make it to the top. But, there’s help for the climb. “The joy that the Lord gives will make you strong” (Nehemiah 8:10 GNT). You might say that God has a storehouse of muscle rub.


Coasting down a hill works just fine until a mountain of crisis appears on the horizon.  When you need power to climb, but discover there isn’t any reserve, you can find yourself in a world of hurt. God’s Word has a lot to say about the importance of our strength. We must take the initiative to encourage ourselves in the Lord, just like King David did. “But I know that God helps me. The Lord is the one who keeps me going” (Psalm 54:4 NIRV). God will keep His children strong, but we have some important instructions to follow if we want to flex those spiritual muscles.


Jesus strongly cautions us about what will happen if we foolishly think we can coast through life with no preparation for storms. “Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears My teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash” (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT).


I chose not to lay down in the parking lot, and believers can choose not to lay down spiritually. Paul wrote to the believers in the Church at Ephesus: “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11 NLT).


The Key: Keep your spiritual muscles strong so you won‘t collapse under pressure.

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