My hubby got home last night and I reluctantly admitted to him, I haven’t run yet today. For some reason, I just wasn’t motivated- I was having a hard time getting my will power up to just get in there and do it.
He suggested that I run after we put our son down and he would hang out with our daughter until her bedtime. I went in the bedroom to change clothes- but I ended up at the computer instead!
My hubby poked his head in about 10 minutes later. He didn’t say anything; he didn’t need to.
I changed clothes quickly and got on the treadmill. I was standing there waiting for the belt to speed up before I got on, and I thought- I don’t want to do this!
But I did it anyway- why?
- I thought about how good I would feel when it was over.
- I remembered that I want to have a healthy body and take care of myself.
- Running relieves stress.
- Running helps me sleep.
- Running is a time I pray and seek God.
I tried to focus on all the positive things- and just willed myself to do it. It was the discipline of doing what I know is good for me, even when my thoughts are not encouraging the right action.
I knew that the next day I would regret NOT running.
When I was coming up toward the end of my time on the treadmill, I started thinking about our relationship with God and obedience.
Obeying God is an act of our will.
It doesn’t always feel good. It is not easy.
It requires FAITH.
We don’t necessarily see the immediate results of our obedience- no instant gratification.
But we invest (spend time in His Word, in prayer, in fellowship) because we believe that spending our time seeking God is worth whatever sacrifices we are called to make.
There is a reason why this habit is so hard to establish and keep. Because spending time daily with God is the most effective way for us to fight the sin in our life.
We recognize sin for what it is much quicker when we have God’s Word in our hearts and on our minds. We are not fooled by nice “packaging” or convincing arguments. We see through it.
They are Satan’s most effective tools in keeping us entrapped by habitual sins.
We rationalize away our need to deal with any sins in our life- grace covers all our sins after all.
We procrastinate, oh, I will deal with that tomorrow- I just can’t handle another thing today.
We let our hearts become hardened (apathy) toward the sin in our life. We can’t even hear God speaking in our lives and hearts because we have allowed sin to reside there and we are enslaved to it.
Only those who obey believe…You are disobedient, you are trying to keep some part of your life under your own control. That is what is preventing you from listening to Christ and believing in his grace. You cannot hear Christ because you are willfully disobedient. Somewhere in your heart you are refusing to listen to his call. Your difficulty is your sins…Tear yourself away from all other attachments, and follow him.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer The Cost of Discipleship
We cannot serve two masters- we choose- consciously or not- each day- to live by the flesh or by the spirit. To submit to God or to submit to the temptations/pleasures of the flesh.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it this way:
Unless he obeys, a man cannot believe. Are you worried because you find it so hard to believe? No one should be surprised at the difficulty of faith, if there is some part of his life where he is consciously resisting or disobeying the commandment of Jesus.
Is there some part of your life which you are refusing to surrender at his behest, some sinful passion, maybe, or some animosity, some hope, perhaps your ambition or your reason? If so, you must not be surprised that you have not received the Holy Spirit, that prayer is difficult, or that your request for faith remains unanswered…If you dismiss the word of God’s command, you will not receive his word of grace.
How can you hope to enter into communion with him when at some point in your life you are running away from him? The man who disobeys cannot believe, for only he who obeys can believe.
What sins do you need to openly call out in your own life today?
1 Corinthians 10:11-13 (so much richer in the context- read the whole chapter)
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 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 15:58
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Lord, it is easy for us to begin to use our sins to beat ourselves up when we feel the weight of conviction upon us. Remind us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, that we have been set free from the law of sin and death by the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Grant us courage as we call out those areas of sin in our lives. As we acknowledge our hardened hearts and secret sins Lord, come heal us through the power of your Holy Spirit. Create in us a clean heart, renew a steadfast spirit within us. God I pray that we would submit every area of our life to your control. Convict us of any ways we are rationalizing, procrastinating, or have let our hearts become hardened toward you. Free us for joyful obedience through Jesus Christ our Lord. In His Name we pray, Amen.