Lifting the Weights

People treat their relationship with God like it’s a movie, something they pay a little bit of money for to entertain them for a little bit of time. No wonder many of us feel like we’re watching boring re-runs. No wonder many of us become lazy sitting on our couches watching, or entitled, since movies are made for our glorious entertainment. No wonder many of us are left doubting so much and not knowing what to do, like you just paid $10 to see a terrible movie with no one to even talk about it with after.

We need to open our eyes. God is not here to entertain us. It’s not a give-and-take thing; that’s religion. Instead, you were bought with a price. Glorify God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:20). Worship him by being a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

I wish Christians would compare their relationship with God more like going to the gym. It’s not easy. Sure, it’s refreshing and good for you, but it takes a lot of work. There’s no point in going once a month or even once a week to be honest. To get any sort of growth you have to keep at it consistently, and you’ll have to accept doing exercises you may not enjoy. At first. And if you go to the gym for the wrong reasons, it shows. That’s a lot like how an authentic relationship with God is.

It sounds like too much work to be of any worth, until you have been going to the gym consistently for years. Is it any less work? No. However, you’ll have grown in mind and body so much the fruit and benefit of the work will happily keep you motivated. All the heavy lifting has paid off and always will, so long as you keep investing.

The amusing thing is that God is far more than weights or any cardio routine. We marvel at what a gym can do to a man or woman who takes the time to invest, but how much more will God do to the servant that faithfully invests in him? Instead of doing power cleans twice a week for two years, go and invite your unbelieving friends and neighbors over once a week for two years. Get up early to pray five days a week for twenty years. Mentor someone once a week for five years. How much more will God do to your soul, your innermost being, than weights will do to your physical, decaying body? Didn’t Jesus say your soul counts for so much more anyway?

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4.

Some of us need to change the way we see God in our lives. Who serves who? Who puts in the work? Who gives grace, and who gets glory?

Time to go to the gym.

I’m Nauseous…

You know what feeling I hate the most? I hate the feeling of being lost while I’m driving, especially when I get off the wrong exit of a highway. I don’t doubt that most people have felt this, but this one particularly freaks me out. I get that feeling of being lost, like I’ve missed my chance to ‘make things right’.

But you know what always happens? I get back on the right track. My Tom-Tom always corrects the path, or I just backtrack to where I left off on my directions. The funny part is while I I panic and get so nervous, it’s just me. The GPS’s and other people in their cars keep on going, and I always end up finding my way back to the right path. It turns out, like every other time, that God has everything in control. Then with my relief I tend to laugh it off, because I know that God knew what to do long before I even turned on the car.

Think about that one feeling you absolutely dread. Maybe it’s feeling ugly. Maybe it’s feeling unforgivable. Maybe it’s feeling anxious that you don’t know the future. Whatever that feeling (or even circumstance) is, consider this:

Is God not in control of it? “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,” says the Psalmist (ch. 24). If God holds our giant planet in his hands like a little muffin, is He not above your internal feelings? As you read about my emotional plight, perhaps the silliness of it in light of God’s sovereignty comes to your mind — I hope you apply that to your circumstances as well.

While our feelings help reveal our humanity, they are not always rational (most of the time, they actually aren’t at all). Come to think of it, just about everything we humans generate usually ends up being pretty jacked up. I’m so thankful God is gracious and provides a way out, especially when I’m feeling terrible about something.

2 Peter 1:3 – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…”

Our Heavenly Dad has given us everything we need to live life with Him, but we can’t neglect that second half of the verse. It’s through knowing Him that we learn what it truly means to live. If He has given us everything we need now through a relationship with Him, then that must include the truth. That must include the right path, which means I know where my tough times, rough circumstances, and terrible feelings should go. It’s through knowing Him that I can see through whatever my feelings may be and give my situation to the Author of Life.

Guess what? He’s done the same for you, too. So whatever you’re going through today, this week, whatever, just let Him have it. 

In closing, let’s go back to something else the Psalmist said – 

Psalm 94:18-19 – “When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

What terrible feeling do you hate the most? Have you gotten lost on the highway recently??