But, there are some times when I run that I can be alone with just me and God and it is then when I can find the Joy of running at that moment. It is also a time that I can see God in a sunset or sunrise (not that I have run during a sunrise in a while) or see him along the water or somewhere. God can use those times to speak to me and get to my thoughts and put His Word in there. These are the best times of running!
Yesterday I was on a run as I try to get back to a routine of running that I was at a couple of years ago, and I noticed a couple of things that made me aware of God in one way or another. Yes there was lots of SWEAT....as I seem to have overactive sweat glands when running....nice.....Yes there was lots of PAIN as I went up some hills and felt the EXTREME heat on my body.....Yes there was the MISERY of not being able to breath properly...or not at all sometimes!! But hey...these are the JOYS OF RUNNING!!! I can faintly remember being in good shape a couple of years ago...I can remember being able to run a few miles with little to no trouble at all.....I can remember my body changing weekly as my weight dropped and I became faster and more in shape...I can remember my muscles feeling tighter and toned as the routine of running kicked in...I can remember all of this. So why would I let myself get out of shape all over again and have to go through this process all over again? Why would I want to put myself through the sweat, pain and misery all over again? To be honest with you.....I became lazy all over again! Flat out LAZY!!!
Don't get me wrong here...I can make it sound pretty and make it sound like I am in shape and I can still do what I used to do and I am not really that bad......SOUND FAMILIAR? I am out of shape, I cannot do what I used to do and I am really that bad.....who am I fooling?? I have allowed food, the couch, lack of exercise to dictate how I am at this moment...OUT OF SHAPE! So yes I will again pay the price, again go through the SWEAT, PAIN and MISERY of getting back into shape. I will pay the price to be where I need to be. Yesterday was tough and today will not be much easier as the road and heat and the Joys of Running take it's toll on me to mold me back to where I need to be for many reasons. When I am in shape I am happier, healthier, quicker, more alert, energetic, enthusiastic about life and basically a completely different person. After all, shouldn't we want to be the best we can be in life so we can enjoy life to the fullest? Yes!!!
So this brings us to our SPIRITUAL LIVES!!!! The two our really quite similar and almost go hand in hand with each other. Becoming more spiritual is a lot like getting into shape physically. There is SWEAT as we get into God's Word and feel the heat of the Holy Spirit on us like a FIRE. There is PAIN as we take a long hard and honest look at our lives and realize things have to change. There is MISERY as we actually start to make those changes and cut out what no longer needs to be there. Just like running, the more we consistent we are spiritually the better we get....the faster we are for God....the enthusiasm for the things of Christ returns....the more focused we become...the more alert we are about the evil around us.....the quicker we become to recognize sin and call it sin.....we BECOME and all together different (BETTER) person than we were before. It is when we are in Good PHYSICAL SHAPE that we can look at the JOYS OF RUNNING, and it is also when we are in Good SPIRITUAL SHAPE that we can look at the JOYS OF LIVING FOR CHRIST!!
Today we need to look to God's Word to BECOME better followers of CHRIST.
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
Go through the pain of studying the Word of God properly. Get better daily as you grow spiritually.
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
"WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION?" Remember Salvation is more than a little prayer said to appease your conscience....Salvation....TRUE Salvation is a Relationship with the Christ who is wanting a daily interaction with you. He wants all of you daily..not just when you are in trouble or need Him to bail you out of a situation...or need Him to bring you some $$$. Just like Jogging, if you do not daily put the effort in you will become overweight and lazy and able to justify it and make it sound good! Spiritually you become lazy, overburdened with the sin of life, apathetic to lost souls all around you, going though the motions of "CHURCH," pretending or justifying why you are all good and able to justify why everything is great!, NOT reading God's Word for you directions, NOT praying except for the occasional regurgitation of some prayer for food that you memorized and do not really mean,,,,,,,,UGHHH!! This is no way to live!! Just reading over that list makes me feel sick to my stomach.
Today, Today, get up and be different than you were yesterday. Do something different and start your path to becoming a lean, mean Spiritual Follower of Christ.....BECOME dangerous for CHRIST!! Get in the Word, Get into Prayer, Get rid of sin, Get into a body of accountability to help you keep your stride!!! You can do this and you can be different....Go through the SWEAT, PAIN and MISERY that will lead to you having TRUE JOY in LIFE....Get going NOW!!!!