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A Health Club's Lesson on Old Testament Law

My first visit to a health club was in the 1970s. Health clubs were new. My friend Frank told me he had a membership and that I could come with him as his guest for a workout.

When I met Frank at the club, we went into a room filled with weight machines. I'd never seen these things before in my life. Frank called it "the circuit." The idea was to spend a few minutes on each machine, exercising all the various muscle groups as you went along.

There was a muscle-bound guy in charge—no nonsense, tight T-shirt. He walked me through the use of each machine. After his tour, I sat down at the first one, while a few other folks took their places at the other machines. He called out, "Two minutes on each machine, ladies." (I'm not sure if he said "ladies" or not, but that's what he meant.) He blew his whistle, and I started to pull down a set of handlebars attached to some weights.

Nothing.

I had just worked this machine a few minutes earlier, but this time nothing happened. The weight I was trying to lift didn't budge an inch. I tried harder.

Nothing.

The T-shirt guy yelled at me—something like, "C'mon, you overweight daisy!" So, I redoubled my efforts. But nothing happened. I thought my shoulder was going to separate. Sweating like a coal miner, I gave up in shame. I looked down at the machine in defeat.

At this point, Frank came to help out. He looked the thing over and showed me that someone had pulled the pin on the proper weight. I was trying to lift all the weights this machine had—something like 500 pounds! But that was it. I gave up. I walked out. Some things are just too hard. Some weights are just too heavy.

That is how the Old Testament law worked. That's how it still works. We think we can lift the weight of obeying God—that we can be really good. We try it a little, and we succeed. But when the time comes for the sustained, heavy lifting of daily obedience, we can't budge the burden.

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