Yesterday was a good day. I am four-days-in-a-row into my exercise program and feeling pretty good about it. I feel best after it is done for the day. I have decided to treat it like anything that I don’t particularly enjoy, but must be done. Like dishes, for example. I hate doing dishes. Yet I do them several times each day. Exercising my body is like that. I need to do it every day. Whether or not I want to is beside the point.
I was feeling pretty encouraged yesterday for other reasons. I had a good morning in the Word, felt directed by God on several important things going on in my life, and had a good conversation with a family member. I thought a breakthrough moment, perhaps.
We were discussing faith. I made a statement similar to what I’ve stated above. “You may not be able to control your thoughts or feelings, but you can control your behavior”. This reminded me of a quote from Beth Moore. “Faith is not the absence of fear. Faith is doing it anyway, when you are quaking in your boots”. I told this family member to do it afraid. Do it even if it doesn’t feel right. I said if you do it in faith, eventually your thoughts and feelings will follow.
This conversation came back to me in the middle of my workout yesterday. It happened at a moment when I didn’t particularly feel like continuing. I realized in the middle of a squat, I was daily exercising faith by sticking to this routine. I am a living witness to what I said to my family member about faith. Kind of makes it hard to back out, eh? God is for real in teaching discipline. And I am so grateful.
I am not the first to make the connection between faith and our body. Paul talked about this extensively in his letters to the early churches. I read 1 Corinthians 9 this morning, so much wisdom in his words, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
Paul was talking about his ministry to others. He basically is saying he practiced what he preached. Living by faith is entering into strict training. Whether or not we realize it, we are running a race marked out for us in front of others. Our lives are on display in this marathon race. Running with purpose, focus, and discipline are daily exercises of our faith. This helped me push through when I wanted to quit, and I pray helps the little eyes watching me push-off their own starting blocks.