Last week a couple of folks (friends???) shared an article with me that addressed the problems one encounters when they cease an exercise program. Basically the premise is that when you have engaged in a program of regular exercise and then quit you will eventually find yourself in worse shape than before you started. I read it, and sadly all I can say is ďamen!Ē In short order the combination of broken ribs, a twice-broken ankle, and a shoulder that strains to lift paper over my head has kept me out of the gym and left meÖ well, letís just say I now weigh a ďlittleĒ more than 185 pounds and donít have quite the energy I did. Itís frustrating me to no end! But I believe the frustrations may be similar to some of our spiritual frustrations that are of so much greater significance.
ē Iím frustrated because I know I can do better. Those injuries left me unable to do anything in the gym for a few months. I couldnít work on my lower body and cardio due to the ankle. I couldnít do abdominals because of the ribs. And I couldnít do upper body work because of the shoulder, and still canít. But the ribs and ankle are healed, and Iíve still not made my way back to work on the other things.
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
Donít we typically know we can do better spiritually? Sometimes we have a flood of things that make it difficult. If I canít read the Bible through in a year I donít read the Bible at all. If Iím going to be late for worship I stay home and donít worship at all. I canít provide a ride for everyone so I provide a ride for no one. The key to starting to get back in shape physically is to start now to do what I can and gradually work into doing more. Likewise, spiritually I need to start doing what I can do now and work up to doing more.
ē Iím frustrated because I promised to never allow myself to get out of shape again. For a few years I felt stronger, more energetic, and all around healthier than even my teen and young adult years. Not only do I no longer feel that way, but now (in case you havenít noticed) I feel frustrated. Iíve let myself down.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Many times we let ourselves down spiritually. Most of us have made numerous commitments to being more faithful during our lives and have too often been disappointed in ourselves. Sometimes we blame issues outside our control. Afterall, it isnít my fault I hurt my shoulder. Likewise it isnít my fault that a brother offended me. But the truth is that no one determines where I am in Christ other than myself. So ultimately it is my fault.
ē Iím frustrated because I canít do the things Iíd like to do. All of the injuries Iíve had came in the rodeo arena. I want to get back there. But Iím limited on doing other things as well. Itís difficult to work on home improvements and car repairs. Iíve found that I cannot draw my compound bow and shooting a rifle (even a .22) hurts tremendously.
ĎYou shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.í
(1 Chronicles 28:3)
Our actions carry consequences. We know that telling a lie carries the consequence of not being trusted, and that stealing carries the consequence of going to jail. But we might forget the additional consequence of losing family and friends, of financial loss, sleepless nights, and declining health. Nothing is as debilitating as the sins I choose to commit.