Hearts On Fire

Read: Matthew 26 "The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." --Matthew 26:41

In my second favorite movie of all-time (Rocky II), Rocky walks to his trainer's apartment in the middle of the night to ask for his locker back; he wants to fight again. Dismissive, Mickey delivers one of the most painful and sad lines I've ever heard: "You got the heart, but you ain't got the tools no more." (Read: The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.) As an athlete, that phrase carries serious meaning. I know what it's like to be physically limited from doing what my heart is dying to do. But as a Christian, that line is more than a blow to the body.

As believers, our souls have work to do. In our passage, when Jesus said to His disciples to stay awake, He literally meant "physically." How many reading this page would agree that you'd would be so much more productive at work, alive with your spouse, able to keep up with the kids or even active in church, if you enjoyed better health? If so, maybe you need your locker back.

My sweet Preacher Bro. Henry Powell used to say, "Do what you can. Do all that you can. And do it now." Friends, whether it's to make room for quiet times with the Lord each day or to make better choices for your health, just remember that if the spirit is willing, there's a fighter in you. If you've got the heart, you still got the tools. Your soul just needs a fighting chance.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: If you want to see the scene in Rocky that I'm talking about, here's the link. (Listen for the verse.) And you know, part of my fight began when I lost some of my physical tools. And I think many of you can relate. But God equips us if He calls us to something. What is God calling you to do? And do you already have enough health to fulfill it? If so, let's get in the ring. WATCH | "You've got the heart but..."

Water Workout, with a side of bands please: So as promised, I'm gonna be sharing some of my training and tactics that I'm using to get back into fighting shape. Well, I spend a few days each week in the water. PoolWorkAlthough I'm not allowed to twist at the waist, I can swim freestyle (carefully) by taking few breaths and trying to keep my body as straight as possible. I do other strokes that come easy to me, but I also take a resistance band into the pool. Why resistance bands? If you have a sec, I'll talk bands with you.

First, the energy in a band separates it from so many other training tools at your disposal. Take free weights, for instance. Like barbells and dumbbells, resistance bands allow for a free range of motion, change of speed and varying intensity. But unlike a free weight, the resistance band doesn’t depend on gravity to provide its benefit. With a barbell or dumbbell, you need to work within or near the vertical plane — but with bands, there is no such limitation. You get all-important resistance at every angle. That’s one reason bands are so effective at functional moves, i.e., the ones that mimic day-to-day activities.

Unlike free weights (which for me at this stage of my rehab are so light) bands also provide constant tension. Consider a chest press, biceps curl or lateral raise with dumbbells — no matter how hard you try to maintain perfect form, by the sheer laws of physics, the target muscles relax at some point along the way (the top of a press or curl, the bottom of a lateral raise).

That’s not the case with bands. From start to finish, the bands are stimulating the target muscle, because of that elastic potential built into the instrument.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to bands? They provide something called “linear variable resistance.” As the range of motion of the exercise increases, the resistance provided by the elastic equipment increases as well. In other words, as the bands get more taut, they put more tension on the working muscle. This means the muscle is getting the most resistance at its strongest point in the range of motion, and therefore activating the most muscle fibers possible. No other piece of equipment in the gym gets the most difficult when you’re at your strongest. And here ends the lesson on bands. More than you cared to know, right? Well, for those still reading, thanks. Next week, core stuff.

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