Just today while I was running on the treadmill, I was listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss who was talking about discipline and the christian walk. It got me to thinking about my own spiritual walk compared to my new exercise routine. In September of 2001, I realized that I was a sinner who was trying to earn my way into heaven by reading my Bible, attending church, going to Bible college, and even marrying a soon to be pastor. I thought that by doing all of these things and because when I was 7 years old I walked down an isle at church and prayed a prayer that I was a Christian. I thought that sin was something that I did and not who I was by nature. Then after an interview to join a church I realized that I had no idea what sin really was. So, I went home and read Romans and saw that we are all born sinners and that we all fall short of God's glory and that we deserve hell without the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives causing us to repent of our sins and trust in the finished work of Christ who lived a perfect and sinless life, died a sacrificial death, rose again from the grave, and is now reigning as King at the right hand of the Father. So, as I was reading through Romans I knew that I was in need of the Holy Spirit drawing me to Christ and that I could not just make myself believe. I thought long and hard about how I deserved God's wrath, but also knew that because of Christ's righteousness I could have eternal life if I repented of my sins and trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins. So, at that point in my life I started repenting of my sins and trusting in Christ alone for the forgiveness of my sins. My life was drastically changed and I started really loving God and His Word. Bible reading, prayer, and attending church was no longer just something to check off my list for the day making me a good person. There was joy in serving Christ and there still is. I wanted to please my Lord and to know Him and His righteousness and tell others all about Him. Christian life was no longer a drudgery.
At this point you may be asking where does the treadmill fit into this story. It fits because as I have now been faithful to using the treadmill for 7 weeks now, I realize that it takes discipline and is not always easy. Exercise is not always easy as there is a lot of sweat and stretching of the muscles. There are some days where I am simply tired and do not want to get on the treadmill. However, immediately after getting off of the treadmill I feel much better. The spiritual life is not always easy. It takes discipline to pursue Christ and His righteousness. You do not grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ with out trials and without work. It takes discipline to study God's Word, memorize God's Word, meditate upon His Word, share His Word with others, and teach it faithfully to your children all the time. There are many days when I just want to coast along and do the minimum. However, God tells us to persevere in the Christian walk and that without holiness no one will see the Lord. Do not lose hope, persevere, and look to Christ. Isaiah 40:28-31 tells us, "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."