Hi, everyone! I pray you all are having a wonderful day!
This past Sunday at church, pastor and author Max Lucado touched on the joy-filling, hope-stirring subject of heaven. He dispelled the farcical notion that in Paradise, we’ll spend eternity on an ethereal cloud bank nestled somewhere between Neptune and Never Never Land, strumming harps whilst naked, winged infants float nearby like Renaissance Cupids.
Mr. Lucado quoted God’s Word to assure us that in fact, Heaven will be much more homey and familiar than we might expect. It will be a glorified earth…
“The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.” –Isaiah 11:6-19 (NIV)
Far from a mystical, moonlight haze populated with Kumbaya-humming transparent bodies and fat, flying babies, heaven will look the way God intended it to, like the pristine and perfect Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation.
Mr. Lucado calls our vapor of a life on this earth a “warm-up” for our eternal life on the glorified earth. As a CrossFit coach, I naturally think of things like butt-kicks and high-knees when I hear the word “warm-up.”
Warm-ups aren’t exactly the most popular part of the workout for most people. Stiff muscles don’t like the feel of a full range of motion. Sleepy eyes at 5:15 in the morning or 6:30 at night don’t like the sight of “100 jump rope” and “400-meter run” written on our “Dynamic Warm-up” board. Fortunately, all of our athletes know how critical the warm-up is for their main workout, so complaints are kept to a minimum! If you aren’t aware of them, here are a few warm-up benefits:
- Elevation of body temperature
- Increase blow flow in the muscles
- Improves efficient cooling
- Improves range of motion
- Reduces incidence and likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries
- Supplies adequate blood flow to heart
- Provides rehearsal of movements present in the workout
- Mental preparation
As you can see, the warm-up prepares us for an effective and rewarding workout. When the workout (the fun part!) begins, our blood is flowing hot, our hearts are pumping strong, and our minds are thinking fast, each part of us giving one-hundred percent to the exercises at hand.
Life on this earth really is like a warm-up. Some days we wake up feeling too tired, too stiff, too anxious to get moving. Sometimes the list of exercises written on the “Dynamic Warm-Up” board of our lives seems endless. So often the benefits promised to arise from our faithfulness are forgotten when we focus only on the “light and momentary afflictions” that have tainted the groaning remnants of Eden (2nd Corinthians 4:17, Romans 8:22).
So what’s the solution? How do we silence the grumbling and complaining and banish bad attitudes? We must turn to Christ, the One who endured the greatest turmoil, disappointment, and pain of any human in history because He focused His heart heavenward.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:2 (NIV).
This warm-up isn’t easy, but as Paul wrote, it is “nothing compared to the glory” that is to come when our eyes are at last filled with the appearance of our Savior’s face (Romans 8:17-18).
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di