Change reads easy, lives hard.
I am a fitness professional by trade. I own and operate a business whose primary purpose is to guide individuals into a fitness lifestyle. Folks have hired my services for many reasons, here is the short list: Need or want to lose weight; feel flabby and want to firm up; need to look better for a particular event; doctor said they must eat right and exercise for various reasons including but not limited to brittle bones; high blood pressure; elevated cholesterol or blood sugars etcetera. My personal favorite is because being healthy is cheaper than a nursing home.
Every client I have ever had has been fired up in the early phases of my program, the only exception being when someone else pressured them to be there. But nearly all who made the decision to seek my expertise, at some point, get to where the bloom is off the rose and realize being healthy takes hard work and discipline. One client asked, “Do I have to think about eating right and exercising all the time?” I think, dear readers, you know what my reply was.
Taking care of our bodies is hard work and requires devotion and self-sacrifice for the long haul. It is a marathon, not a sprint. I like to tell people certain healthy habits must become as much a part of your daily round as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Unless, of course you don’t shower or brush your teeth daily. I remember one of our daughters’ middle school friends who happened to stay the night, proudly proclaimed she hadn’t brushed her teeth in seventeen days. Ugh. Hopefully, she changed her mind about that.
It was Ben Franklin who quipped, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And it is especially true when it comes to your health. What and how we eat is what the word diet actually means instead of something we go on. Which implies, by the way, that we will go off at some point. What most fail to understand is whatever plan you choose, and most all of them work, only works as long as you keep at it. In other words, eating healthy works when you work it and it doesn’t when you don’t. Oftentimes we start strong and trip up when temptation comes our way or get over busy and fall prey to the “what the heck” thinking and throw in the towel. Others never really buy into the eating/exercise plan itself or modify it, taking only the parts that aren’t too hard skipping the difficult parts. And then wonder why it doesn’t work.
And let me be clear, once a person gets to where they want to be, they must keep doing what they have been doing to keep getting what they have been getting or they will end up right back where they were before, or worse. And sometimes we want to eat better and exercise, just not today. The diet starts tomorrow, but the sad truth is tomorrow never comes.
Change is hard. I get that. But, in these moments I sometimes pose this question, “If you are going to do what you want, why do you need me? “It’s as though instead of conforming to a new fitness lifestyle, some want to conform the fitness lifestyle to them. Never works; never has never will.
Living a new life in Jesus Christ reads easy, lives hard.
Jesus Christ is a New Life professional. His primary purpose is to save lost souls and lead them back into right relationship with God. Folks seek his services for a number of reasons here’s the short list: Made a wreck of their life; life has made of a wreck of them; have hurt others; have been hurt by other humans; experienced suffering, loss or devastation; nothing else fills the bottomless pit of a hole in the soul and etcetera. My personal favorite is He gives me what I don’t deserve, grace, truth and forgiveness.
Nearly every new believer or follower of Christ are fired up at the beginning of their new life in Christ, I know I was, the only exception being when someone else pressured them to come to Him. But nearly all who made the decision to seek his expertise, at some point, get to a place where the bloom is off the rose as they realize that following Jesus takes self-sacrifice of losing our own will and the daily discipline of continuing to seek His will. At one point I remember asking the Lord, “Do I need to pray, read the Bible and do what you want me to everyday day for the rest of my life?” I think, dear readers, you know what his reply was.
Taking care of our souls and transforming them into the image of Christ is hard work and requires devotions and self-sacrifice for the long haul. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Jesus reminds us soul healthy habits must become as much of our daily round as brushing our teeth or taking a shower. I have talked with many “followers of Jesus” who haven’t taken time to pray or crack open God’s Word in years and years if ever. Ugh. Hopefully, they have or will change their minds about that.
It was the Creator of the Universe who slipped on human skin and declared, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoseover believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Who and how we fill ourselves is not just something we do once a week and check off the list. It must become a lifestyle of a developing personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, whose Holy Spirit fills the hole in our soul and gives us the will and the power to transform into the image of Christ. Which is the goal, by the way. What most fail to understand is faith only works as long as you keep at it. In other words, following Jesus only works when you follow Him and it doesn’t when you don’t. Oftentimes we start strong and trip up when temptation comes our way or get over busy and fall prey to the “what the heck” thinking and throw in the towel. Others never really buy into the Good News of Jesus Christ itself or modify it, taking only the parts that aren’t too hard skipping the difficult parts. And then wonder why Christianity doesn’t work for them.
And let me be clear, and here is the rub, it is hard work loving your enemies, being humble, keeping my tongue bridled and not repaying evil for evil. Of myself I could never do any of this. I must first receive it as a free gift by accepting that Jesus is who he says he is (Lord of all) and that he rose from the dead and forgives me for all the rotten junk I have done. You see if you don’t want him in this life, he won’t force you to have him in the next, it is our choice because love by compulsion isn’t love. In addition, if I don’t keep doing the daily deal of seeking his will, talking and listening to His Voice and knowing what His Voice sounds like by studying his Word, I will go back to being the sick chick I used to be. And the truth in my life and the evidence down through history is that sometimes I think I want to do what God says, just not today. The spiritual diet starts tomorrow. I’ll give up being judgmental or gossiping, tomorrow. But the sad truth is all too often tomorrow never comes.
Change is hard. I get that. But, in these moments Jesus sometimes poses this most difficult question, “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say? “It’s as though instead of recognizing we are created in God’s image; we want to create God in our image.
Never works; never has, never will.
Because, as God reminds us,” My ways are not your ways.”
Be joy filled always,