Whenever my spirit conquers my flesh, this averages about three to four times a week, I get up around 5:25, put on my workout clothes, pull my hair up, and by 5:30, I’m tuning into “Total Body Sculpt with Gilad” Faithfully, Gilad is there ready to sculpt my body. He takes me through stretches and strength promoting calisthenics. And then somewhere in the dreaded exercise session, I hear the words, “Now we will hold this position for two more counts of eight.” And as we hold, Gilad encouragingly and insistently calls out, “Hold!…Hold! …5…4…Hold! Hold!…1, and release it down.” Then he tells us to correct our posture and shake it off. And, man, I am more than happy to shake that pain off.
Now, Gilad generally asks us to hold only after we have gone through several repetitions of an exercise, sometimes bicep curls, sometimes crunches, and my least favorite, squats. But when he calls, “Hold!” I squat and hold, resting on my heels, butt lowered to the ground, and my forearms dutifully lying along my thighs, and I squat there, holding and burning. But after I’m allowed to rise, I feel a tingling in my rear, my legs, and my thighs, and that’s how I know the exercise is working, something is happening on the inside. That satisfying tingle is almost as fulfilling as the feeling of steadfastness. When I keep working despite the burning ridicule, despite the weariness, when I press on, I am filled a tingling peace, knowing that I have done my father’s will.
Paul writes, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”(1 Corthinians 15:58). We are assured that if we hold to what is true, and if we are committed to the work that is to be done, we will bear the intended fruit, the glorification of the Kingdom. We have pleased our Lord. So, as certain as I am that Gilad’s command to hold will yield me a firmer butt, I am even more certain that holding as God commands will yield me a firmer faith and greater peace.
Now positively, I don’t always succeed in holding. I release my position before Gilad calls a halt, I can’t bear the burning anymore and I let go. Likewise, I compromise my spiritual position to my friends, to my family, and shamefully, to complete strangers. I fail to proclaim and fail to work out of fear of someone else’s opinion. But, thanks be onto God, I’m granted another day with brand new mercies that allow me to re-take my position, to squat down, and do what I know what is good for the Kingdom and for me.
Holding for the Lord,
Ida Gaines is a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 211 Mt. Zion Street, Monroe, LA 71202. Rev. Ike Byrd, III is her pastor. She enjoys ushering at her church, spending time with her family and friends, watching movies, and advising her many students, all in that order.