The muscles in our body have three types of contraction: Concentric Contraction, Eccentric Contraction and Isometric Contraction. These combined contractions allow our effectively designed bodies to perform and accomplish amazing tasks.
During Concentric Contraction, the muscle shortens and comes together to overcome a certain resistance. An example of this type of contraction is how the bicep contracts to lift the weight of a dumbbell.
During Eccentric Contraction, the muscle lengthen as it contracts to control and/or stop a movement. An example of this type of contraction is how the bicep lengthens as it safely brings the weigh of the dumbbell back down.
During Isometric Contraction, the muscle resists movement, stabilizing itself under intense pressure, while the body remains firm. An example of this type of contraction is how the core of the body maintains the tense position of a plank without moving.
All three of these muscle contractions are important to exercise, especially bodybuilding. Complex exercises, like dead lifts, use all three muscle contractions. Concentric and Eccentric Contractions are used when the weight of the bar is being lifted and brought back down, and the core muscles are stabilizing the body during the dead lift in an Isometric Contraction, keeping the body in perfect form.
Without all three contractions, the complex exercise could not be done. The awesome benefit of complex exercises is that a maximum number of muscle groups are being engaged simultaneously during all three muscle contractions, which builds muscle throughout the body much faster.
Our faith muscles also have three contractions. God gives us each promises in this life, and He expects us to build our spiritual muscles in order to move them into reality. God has given us free will, and though we need His supernatural help to achieve our promises, He still expects us to move our spiritual muscles by faith. God is our Master Trainer, and He wants us to be strong in Christ. He won’t take the weight from us when He knows we are fully capable of moving it.
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1.20 NIV).
A Spiritual Concentric Contraction occurs when God allows resistance on our path to claiming our promises. If our promises were easy to achieve, we wouldn’t grow to reach them, and we would probably take them for granted. God expects us to squeeze tight, giving every ounce of energy we have, to bringing those dreams to fruition. It may takes years of squeezing and trying, but the promises are “yes” in Christ. We need only to continue building our muscle.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3.23-34 NIV).
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6.9 NIV).
“A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied” (Proverbs 13.4 NIV).
A Spiritual Eccentric Contraction occurs when we resist the temptations of a world controlled by Satan. Satan hates humans with an intense, supernatural hatred, and all he wants do is “steal, kill and destroy” everything to do with humanity, especially our eternal lives. When we resist the devil, we are wielding great amount of strength. However, the best way to not allow that tension to break us is to keep our eyes on our Master Trainer. He will not give us any resistance that He knows that we won’t be able to withstand.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10.10 NIV).
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5.8-9 NIV).
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10.13 NIV).
A Spiritual Isometric Contraction occurs when we stand firm. Sometimes God gets quiet in our lives, and we feel like we have no immediate direction. When this occurs, we need to do a spiritual plank and stand firm. We are so productive oriented that we don’t like being still, but what we need to realize is that God is working our spiritual muscles in an Isometric Contraction. He wants us to hold position and wait on His next command. He wants to see if we will stand firmly on His promises and wait patiently, activating our faith muscles according to His time and will.
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth'” (Psalm 46.10 NIV).
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16.13 NIV).
“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left” (Joshua 23.6 NIV).
God wants us to grow and strengthen in Him, so He will allow seasons of “complex exercises” in our lives that activate all three contractions: Concentric, Eccentric and Isometric. These times may be difficult to bear, but God is our Master Training, and He is shaping us into the image of His Perfect Son, Jesus. We are becoming the people we will be for eternity, and God wants to exercise our faith, so we can become strong in Him. But don’t worry, like any good trainer, God will give us a time of rest, so our sore, torn muscles can repair and become even stronger than before!
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.”
– Isaiah 40.31 (NLT).