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Partner Workout

Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 10/13)

Our gym publishes the next day’s workout at 8:00 p.m. the night before. Full disclosure, I’m a coach, so I know well in advance what the workouts are. But I’m also an athlete. And as an athlete, there’s a part of me that forgets them as quickly as possible to avoid the opportunity for excuses and skipped workouts. At 8:01 p.m. on some evening long ago, I opened my phone and took a long, slow glance. Instantly, my body was riddled with anxiety. My mind had already begun to open the excuse vault so I could go searching for just the right one. With heart racing and eyes dilated, I set my phone back down on its plate charger. My wife looked over and said to me, “Babe, what is it?” I sighed and cried at the same time, “It’s a partner workout.”

A famous athlete used to say, “Some days you’re the hammer, some days you’re the nail.” When it comes to partner workouts, I’ve been both. If you don’t do this style of workout in your gym, essentially two people split a workout in half, alternating reps, sets, and/or exercises. After only one workout like this, you realize the most important part of a partner workout is to choose your partner wisely!

If you get to choose at all. I was in a class one time where apparently, they chose a permanent partner two years before class. I was walking around reliving the rejection of a middle school dance just looking for anyone. Unfortunately for me, the only person left was the bodyweight RX guy. You know that guy? He does Murph in like 25 minutes in a vest unpartitioned. Yep, that was my partner. Oh, and to top it off, the workout opened with five minutes of max synchro burpees. Just what old bodyweight Bobby was hoping for. Me on the other hand, not so much. And because it was synchro, all he could do was stare and wait while I huffed and puffed to get off the ground. What I needed was some of his synchro fitness!

But not all partner workouts are like that. Typically, you find yourself with someone whose strengths are different, and hopefully complementary to yours. That allows each of you to carry the other when the time is right. Partner workouts teach you to value others when they carry you.

Which translates perfectly into our Bible reading today. Jesus tells the story of a man in need of help. He’s been robbed, stripped, beaten, and left to die on the side of the road. Two people pass him by without helping at all. Then a third person comes along and decides to lend a hand. After bandaging the man, he carries him by donkey to an inn, stays the night, then pays the innkeeper to take care of him until he returns. That’s what love does. It carries you when you need it most.

Love can carry you past the history you have with someone. It can carry you to the point of forgiveness or restoration or true healing. Love can carry you beyond preconceived notions or socio-economic differences. Love is the great equalizer. And finally, love can carry you when you can’t carry yourself. No matter how difficult your life or your circumstances, let the love of Jesus comfort you as He carries you. It’s the best partner workout you’ll ever experience!

Questions for Reflection:

When has the love of God carried you?

How can you be a better partner to those you love?

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