Do More Than One Stinking Pull-Up

This is the title of an awesome article over at The Art of Manliness blog. In it, Brett McKay opens with an embarrassing moment that has motivated him to a life of fitness. It was the dreaded fitness test in the sixth grade. Apparently the positive pep talk he gave himself while the girl before him in line was pumping them out could not even help him get his chin over the bar for one stinking pull-up.

For McKay, the pull-up represented the ultimate fitness test; and he utterly failed. Since then, he has conquered this fitness flaw and wants to encourage his readers to get their whole household pull-up fit. Seriously, passing down the ability to crank out some pull-ups and thereby strengthen physiques is a pretty great family endeavor. And it doesn’t hurt to help out a kid’s fragile pride for that important day in the sixth grade.

So the article gives pull-up dos and don’ts, as well as a plan to build pull-up fitness levels. McKay offers a “Do More Than One Stinking Pull-Up Routine.” Basically, you begin with twelve sets of one pull-up, moving to six sets of two repetitions, and on it goes. In just one month, McKay was doing multiple sets of ten reps. I thought about this article when as I was finishing up Scott Oliphint’s book, Covenantal Apologetics. He was discussing some of the premeditation one must do to improve their fitness in apologetic conversations. When we do have that chance to defend our faith, or to be used by God to persuade others of the faith, are we well equipped for dialogue? Oliphint challenges us to put some work in beforehand so that we have an understanding of the root of unbelief in opposing views. Furthermore, we should know God’s Word well enough to have discernment:

Perhaps this is where it is important to engage in some biblical and theological meditation. It may be that we need to read such books on naturalistic evolution with a more biblically critical eye and with a view toward the assumptions behind what is said. This may take some practice, but it is within the ability of most Christians to do. (222)

Did you get that last line? Sharing your faith takes some work, practice, also known as exercise. But it isn’t only for the super-articulate, the schooled academic, or the girl before you in line who just seems to know how to crank it out. The gospel message is the good news, and everyone who embraces it should be proud to share its message. But in order to do that, we need to be able to do more than one stinking pull-up.

Articulating our faith requires theological fitness, that is, a persistent fight to exercise our faith by actively engaging in the gospel truth revealed in God's Word. It isn’t just about knowing John 3:16, or the Romans road. It isn’t about having a powerful testimony to tell. Sharing our faith takes stamina in God’s Word. Our faith has content. God has given us his inspired Word to reveal himself to us. How well do you know your way around it?

And you can’t just memorize one spiel to crank out on every conversation partner. We need to invest in knowing where the other person is coming from. This takes effort and compassion. It also takes self-evaluation. No one wants to hear someone who’s 50 pounds overweight tell them about their fitness program. It is the same for evangelizing. We need to keep in mind that our lives should show forth the fruit of the Christian life.

Once again I am reminded why Scripture uses so many physical fitness metaphors to explain the life of faith. Jesus Christ is the only One who had the fitness to redeem a people for himself. But because of his work on our behalf, we are given the fitness for the Christian life. He has qualified us to do more than one stinking pull up when it comes to telling others about his saving love. So get practicing. 


*Originally posted on 11/11/13