Snap, crackle, pop. And no, I’m not talking about Rice Crispies. I’m sitting gazing into the newly started fire and I begin to think of how thankful I am for our wood stove on these chilly Fall mornings.
As I stare into the growing flames, I am contemplating a much-needed run. Trying to warm myself up to the idea of getting out there on this cold morning and doing my thing.
I know I’ve mentioned this before but I hate being cold. I think I was born to live in the tropics. Maybe to have just stayed in the garden of Eden, paradise where the climate was just perfect.
Some days I really struggle to suck it up and make myself get out there and do something which I know is good for me, makes me feel better and is good for my health.
I share this because I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. That’s how life is. Doing the right thing always costs us something. I can choose to stay here in my cozy place all snuggled by the fire which will bring me temporary comfort or I can choose to do something which is initially difficult but will bring more long-term lasting benefits.
So often times I equate my running to my walk with God. We don’t always “feel” like taking the time to read, pray or spend alone time with God, but in doing so there are lasting benefits to our health. It’s our spiritual health that is at stake here.
When I speak of cost I mean obedience always costs us something. A friend reminded me of this just yesterday. Obedience means me waking up and intentionally giving up sleeping time to spend time with God while my household is still quiet and before the demands of the days are sitting on my shoulders. It means doing the right thing when everything inside of me kicking and screaming and doesn’t want to.
Following God and seeking Him takes concentrated effort. It’s never the easy thing to do. The enemy of our souls wants to steal, kill and destroy and to take us away from doing what we should. He seeks to make us focus our time and attention on other things, namely self.
Following God is not always going to be the “comfortable” life that some seem to think it should be. When we follow Christ we “share in His sufferings.” This means that we are daily giving up of ourselves in an effort to be more like Him. Laying down our wants to do what God wants of us. And in this world that means there will be a constant battle. Our flesh constantly wants to fight against the things of God.
It’s our fight for joy when everything inside us tells us we’re to tired to fight anymore. Too tired to get out of bed to read or to pray, or to surrender to idleness or the present circumstances in our life that seem unbearable or to surrender to the emotions that are trying to drown us.
Our walk with God is sometime like a game of chutes and ladders. There is no idle ground. We will either advance and climb ladders or we fall on chutes that take us to low places. And in our lives we all have these times of loosing ground but the trick is to get back up and continue on which reminds me of the passage in Proverbs 24:16 which says . . . for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again . . .
Our lives are not about the rising and falling but the pressing on through ALL circumstances. It’s about acquiring the endurance needed to complete the race. It’s getting out of bed one day and a time and walking the walk. Drawing close to God and running the race. Pressing on and in so that in the end we may win the prize . . . and complete our calling for which God is calling us heavenward in Christ Jesus.