This week I'm trying to get in shape. Yesterday went alright. The workout called "Insanity" was tough, but I felt good after it. I was looking forward to this morning's workout and feeling the exercise endorphin high afterwards.
Not so much.
Maybe, it was the power squats. Perhaps it was the leg kicks. I know that the walking pushups certainly had something to do with it. Regardless, at the end of the workout I couldn't move. My stomach hurt. My
legs were sore. The only thing I could do was lay and soak.
My dog was amused.
Immediately, I began thinking, "I need to stop this. There's no point. This isn't fun anymore. I think I'm done with Shaun T."
Ever have that happen with church?
You enjoy the first Sunday you attend. It's all about God's grace. The second Sunday is fun too. You are reminded that God is with you every step of the way.
Then, there's that Sunday where the preacher seems to be talking directly to you. He challenges you with a sin that you have been struggling with. Then, he uses God's Word to back it up. Now God is against you.
You don't like it. You feel uncomfortable. It isn't fun.
Time to quit?
"All Scripture is god-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness."
Notice that this verse never makes mention of Scripture always being fun. In fact, it can be difficult! Scripture calls us to deny ourselves. It tells us to fight against our natural bodily urges. It tells us that some things we love are in fact dangers to our eternal welfare!
But just because it isn't fun, doesn't mean it isn't of extreme importance. Because these words of Scripture drive us to repentance. They turn our eyes to the Lord. These spiritual training sessions causes us to fall to our knees in prayer for God's mercy. They turn our hearts to the only way for salvation -- Jesus Christ our Lord!
Then, God gives it! Like a Blue PowerAde after an exercise, God pours out the Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ into our tired hearts. He promises forgiveness of sins, grace, eternal salvation, and his never failing love to those seeking him.
Our spirits hurt. But God heals them. They are now stronger than ever before. Spiritual exercise (aka studying the Bible in church, alone, in a group study) is full of benefits. Pride is cut. Faith is strengthened. Knowledge of God's goodness is increased. Courage mounts. Hope renews. Doubts subside!
Even though I didn't have a lot of fun, I think I will return to working out tomorrow. The benefits are simply too great to not continue.
May I suggest that you return to the Word as well? Make your way back into spiritual exercise - no matter what your reasons were for stopping.
The benefits are simply too great not to!