A WALK IN THE PARK

September 23, 2010Read: Ephesians 6

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” –Ephesians 6:10

On a recent walk, I stopped at a nearby park where I noticed a group of kids huddled around a coach. He was giving a pep talk. I loved it. Squatting down to meet them eye-to-eye, he said things like, “Let’s be aggressive. Help each other out and work hard!” Parents formed a semicircle around the group, and when the team broke the huddle, I realized it was a karate class; self defense for the little guys.

Interestingly, the coach put one student in the middle and then sent one, two, then three other students in to fight him. “The key,” the instructor yelled to the one in the middle, “is to keep the opponent in front of you at all times!” Before the drill was over, it was 4-on-1. The whistle blew, the parents applauded, and the kids rotated positions.

Heading home, it dawned on me that the coach had it right. He said to keep everything in front of you, because that’s where your opponent is. A buddy of mine, Jimmy Page from FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), taught me that God gives us armor, such as the breastplate, the shield and the sword that are all frontal weapons. He doesn’t give us anything to protect our back. Why? Because the battle is in front of us. We’re not surprised by the enemy, nor does he sneak up and attack us from behind.

So I suppose, in a way, our temptations and struggles can be thought of as compliments; God won’t allow us to be tested beyond what He knows we can endure. When God became a man, He lowered Himself to see us eye-to-eye and gave us a self-defense class of our own. With Him, we can conquer anything that lies ahead, especially since we know He’s always got our backs.

–J.P.

OKAY TO SPLURGE

Contrary to popular belief, being super strict 100 percent of the time is not the only way to reach your physique goals. If you're feeling like you need to splurge a bit on your diet, that's fine -- just get better at picking your moment. One great time to splurge is right after a tough workout.

Many people will tell you that if you eat bad right after a workout, you've ruined all of your hard work. But nothing could be further from the truth. The best time to eat bad is right after a vigourous workout. Research shows that you are much less likely to store food (bad or good) as fat and much more likely to metabolize it for energy following a workout. So the next time you want to go nuts and splurge, hit the gym first -- just hit it hard!