I write a daily devotional for the church that I attend and currently we are studying the book of Philippians. Today’s daily posting was on Philippians 3:12-16 in which Paul compared his quest for pursuing Christ to a race. You can read the full post where I related the following story…
As many of you know, I have been on a diet since January. A few months into my diet, I started exercising at the gym almost every day and more recently, I have been running about 4 miles every other day. It’s hard work. Normally, after a run, I am exhausted, hot, sweaty and sore. I know that I have pushed my muscles to their limits. I know that I am getting stronger because eight years in the Marine Corps taught me that nothing worthwhile comes without a little discomfort, and strength does not come without a little pain.
My desire to not only lose weight but also get back into shape has caused me to do some pretty irrational things. Just the other day, I decided that I needed to go for a jog. It didn’t matter that it was raining. When I lived in Japan, I ran in the rain everyday! It didn’t matter that I decided that I didn’t need my glasses – and almost got lost because I couldn’t see the trail. It didn’t matter that half-way into my run, someone stopped me to let me know that we were under a tornado warning. I kept running until I met my exercise goal for that day.
About the time I found out that I was jogging during a tornado warning, a question popped into my head so clearly that it had to be God speaking to me. He asked me, “If you are willing to endure pain, look foolish, feel uncomfortable, be accountable to others and dedicate yourself to improving your physical health, why can’t you do the same with your spiritual health?”
With my diet and exercise, I have a goal. I have something to work towards. I keep pushing myself to achieve my daily goals. Paul equated his pursuit of perfection in Christ Jesus with a race. He had a goal and worked daily to achieve that goal. He was willing to endure pain, suffering, loneliness and other hardships to press-on toward his prize. He was willing to appear foolish for the sake of Christ. Nothing was going to stop him from achieving his goal.
My new motto is “No Excuses!” Both spiritually and physically!