As a mom of four, it’s hard to make time for fitness, but I squeeze in exercise during my kids’ naptime. I love using video workouts, and thanks to the internet, there are no shortage of trainers and programs from which to choose.
Over the years I’ve done a variety of exercise programs and am always surprised at the difference a trainer can make in the enjoyment and efficiency of the exercise. Maybe you aren’t as picky as I am, but there are a lot of things about fitness instructors that make me roll my eyes.
Some instructors give no encouragement and just shout commands at the viewer, making the experience like boot camp.
Others give only encouragement, dousing the session with cliché platitudes when I really want them to give me some instruction so I can avoid injuring myself while lifting weights.
Some are so fit that I feel inadequate, huffing and puffing away in the privacy of my basement while they breezily chat away.
But the worst trainers are the ones who show how to do a particular move—and then walk around grinning and talking while I have to continue to do the prescribed repetitions until my lungs and legs are burning.
Whenever I try a new trainer, I inevitably get sick of them and go back to my favorite workout program with my favorite trainer. Recently I was reminded why I appreciate spending my exercise time with my favorite trainer—it’s because she goes rep for rep with the viewer!
If this trainer tells you to do a minute of push-ups, she does them too. If she tells you to bump up your weights, she does too. Every repetition you do, she does, and it makes it much easier to nod along when she calls out, “I know this is hard, but you can do it! Keep going!”
Now, I don’t know if this trainer is a Christian, but it struck me that the way she leads people through an exercise program is a lot like how Christ leads his followers through life.
When Jesus lived on earth, he didn’t walk around only spouting commands, and he didn’t only dispense loving sentiments with no substance. Jesus does command us to be holy like he is (1 Peter 1:15,16), even though we mess up daily and can never be holy. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Christ demanded the impossible—but then did the impossible when he became a mortal man to take our place
Jesus didn’t come to earth in all his unapproachable heavenly glory, leaving us feeling separate from him and inadequate. Isaiah 53:2 says, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” No—Jesus was born into this world as an infant, just like you and I were. He looked like a regular everyman. He lost his baby teeth, went through the roller coaster of puberty, lost loved ones, probably got sick, and even died, like we all will someday. He went rep for rep with us, every step of a human lifetime.
For that reason, when life gets hard, Jesus understands. He’s not a god far away who isn’t privy to our pain or problems. Jesus is God, always nearby, who understands every facet of the human experience because he has literally walked in our shoes. Hebrews 4:15,16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Christ is the best trainer we could ever have! In the massive workout of life, know that he is always there—giving us commands, supporting us with encouragement, and going rep for rep right beside us until he brings us home to the blessed relief of heaven. This Christian life is hard, but with Christ, you can do it! Keep going!