Time For The Icy Hot
This morning I woke up with my muscles in pain. The soreness is a direct result of spending yesterday reorganizing the garage - something I have promised myself to never do again. When the alarm went off today, it took all my energy and willpower to get up out of bed and push myself forward towards the shower. As I got myself moving, I was reminded of Paul's words in Philippians 3:14, where he says: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” The Greek word that Paul uses for “press” in this passage carries with it the meaning of “strong exertion.” Paul’s illustration describes the feeling of every muscle burning as you force yourself to complete the task you're working on, such as a race…or in my case walking to the closet.
Not being a runner, I can only imagine what it must be like to finish a long race. When I do try to imagine it, I think what Paul's talking about must be like what a runner feels when she can see the finish line, and she only has a few more feet to go, and she has to push through the pain of exhaustion and overworked muscles, and press on to finish.
The same thing happens in our walk with God. There are times when it just gets hard, and when it feels like we can’t keep going. But it's during those times that we learn what it means to walk by faith and not by feeling. And that's because we can't live our spiritual lives on an emotional high. Sometimes we will feel God very close, and other times we won't. So learning to walk by faith and not by emotion is part of spiritual maturity. And it comes when we “press on” in our walk with God - pushing forward even when it's hard and we don't feel like doing it.
I'm not sure where you are in your journey with God. Maybe, as you've been running, you've found yourself dragging worry, or anxiety, or sins, or other things along on your race, and it all feels too heavy. Maybe you've become discouraged, and you're not even sure why it is you're running the race anymore. Whatever it is, take a minute and remember why you’re running this race. Two thousand years ago, He loved you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for each one of us.
Jesus willingly endured physical, emotional and spiritual agony for me - and for you. But the story didn’t end there; God raised Jesus from the dead. And that same power that brought Him back to life can breathe new life in us as we keep putting one foot in front of the other. So let’s ask God to give us the strength we need to keep our tired and sore “muscles of faith” working for Him as we persevere to the finish line.