I rarely warm up when I exercise. I can mentally hear the groans of my friends who know I go on 2-4 mile runs and do intense cardio workouts. I can hear their worried exclamations. “Do you know how much damage you could do to your body? You’re going to injure yourself. How have you not hurt yourself already!?” I know it could happen. I am not ignorant of the very real ramifications of my actions. In fact, I am a little nerdy in my joy of researching random topics. I have looked into it. Having added some medical science to my common sense, I decided on a repeated basis to ignore both. While I could get injured, it hasn’t happened yet. Yes, I can hear the audible facepalm. As I got ready to run this morning- and let me be transparent, by ready I mean I got dressed, skipped breakfast, and planned my route- the Holy Spirit convicted me. I am not immune to physical injury nor I am just lucky it hasn’t occurred yet. God has been gracious to me. His grace will never end, but the goodness of God is not be abused.
All too often I find myself mistaking a lack of consequence with immunity or luck. It’s a fallacy that I cling to justify behavior I know is wrong. This can be seen in my physical life as described. I want to get right to the calorie-burning, body-toning exercise so I will skip the warm-up. At the root, it is, however, a spiritual issue. The desire to jump ahead and get to the finish line is woven through many aspects of my life. I want to get straight to growing strong and stable roots of faith and enjoy the freedom found in Christ unencumbered. I would rather skip pulling weeds, tilling the soil, and all the watering and waiting. Maybe a tree will grow from seeds planted in course, unprepared soil or maybe it won’t. If it happens to grow, maybe the roots will be deep enough to produce some leaves and fruit. Maybe it will have the appearance of health for a time. There are a lot of ifs and a lot of maybes there. With certainty, I can say lasting and stable results can’t be obtained that way. The lack of proper order will become evident and will have to be corrected.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:12-14
We are not to go through life declaring, our will be done and Your grace be sufficient, O Lord. Diligent habits are needed to know God and live a godly lifestyle. Hebrews 5:14 says that the mature have been “trained by constant practice.” Our warm-ups may be frustrating at times; walking laps around a track when we want to run can seem disheartening. Instead of seeing it as the reigns of God holding us back from all that we want, it is important to change our perspective. It is God aligning our hearts and our motives. He is aligning and stretching the ligaments of our faith. Galatians 6:9 gives us this encouragement, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Don’t let the enemy deceive you, doing the most good comes from doing things God’s way. Be steady at the pace and in the direction He has called you to. He doesn’t want to hinder you; He wants you to reap a grand harvest. It is just another work of His grace that He prepares and nurtures us into maturity.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” 1 Colossians1: 9-12