Friday, February 13, 2009

God as my Personal Trainer?

Since Memorial Day 2008, I've lost 30 pounds and counting. Here's how I did it:

Getting up early
Hard work
Self discipline
Eating healthy

Sorry gang, getting fit and healthy takes hard work and sacrifice. The internet ads tell us " simple rule, that's all..."

Maybe not.

Getting fit and healthy takes self-induced pain. Muscle fatigue, being hungry on purpose, eating carrots instead of candy bars, bicycling against the wind and still 5 miles to home.

God gets us spiritually fit the same way. God works our spiritual muscles sometimes to the point of muscle fatigue. Here's what I mean:

At our church, College Park Church in Indianapolis, we've been in a sermon series on the book of Job (pronounced with a long o as in "ear lobe). Synopsis: Job is righteous (not perfect, but someone who loves and worships the one and only true God) and God makes it so that Job loses his health, wealth, and children. Job doesn't understand why because Job isn't a big time sinner. Job's friends conclude that Job must be a terrible sinner because he's in terrible trial from God.

Our way of thinking is like this:
Obey God, get blessed
Sin against God, get punished.

However, there are other dynamics in place:
People who know, love, and serve God get trials
People who reject God get blessings


Because even those of us who love and worship God are not yet perfect. We all fall short of God's perfection. By way of analogy, I've made the commitment to eat right and exercise, but I'm not yet at my ideal weight, and I'm hoping that Darling Bride brings home ice cream from her grocery store trip today. So I push myself, lift weights to the point of muscle fatigue, etc.

God gives each of us whom He loves a unique blend of blessings and trials in order to move us along on a track to love Him more and be more like Him.

Once I get beyond just knowing this in my mind and to knowing this in my heart, then I can stop worrying and start living. I can see that everything that happens is really a customized spiritual workout from God so that I am spiritually buff.

When business is slow, I can trust God instead of trusing in my bank balance

When I'm behind in preparing my Sunday School lesson, I can re-prioritize my time.

When I'm exhausted from working two jobs to keep us fed, clothed, and sheltered, I can be thankful that I have two more jobs than some I know today.

When I drag myself out of bed an hour early in the morning, I'm glad that I'm healthy enough to do 45 minutes of cardio.

When the sun is shining and the temperature goes up, I can give credit to Whom credit is due.

When I wake up to another day with my wife and family, I can give thanks to the giver of all good things.

I worry too much. The way to stop is to trust God who gives blessings and trials, and is in total control. Whatever happens today, is happening for a reason.

And, all that's happening is not all trial. Today is also a blessing! Hooray!

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