I just got the news from my doctor that due to an injury I will not be able to work out for a while... not even long walks! As I argued (jokingly) with him about the fact that at my age I will start losing muscle tone within a couple of days I realized something....
There are so many correlations between physical exercise and spiritual development. As we begin to work out, the results are unnoticeable to the people around us and even ourselves. At some point we wonder if we are just wasting our time. Could we be the one that no matter how hard we try we just can't get physically fit? At this point we are at a crossroads... continue pressing forward in spite of what we see and feel or sit back on the couch and eat a cookie:)
As time goes on we begin to feel differently and though the change is still unnoticed by others, we can tell that our clothes fit differently, we are stronger and have greater endurance. As we continue pushing through all opposition, pain and distractions, prioritizing our time we begin to see greater gains and it soon becomes noticeable to everyone we know. Even our appetite begins to change and we no longer desire to eat things that are bad for our health. There are fruits to hard work and tenacity.
The most important thing we can exercise is our spirit. As we begin seeking Jesus, spending more time in the Word, worship and prayer, it may seem like you're unheard and unseen for a while. You may even think your wasting your time. At this point if you listen to the voices in your head, you'll give up and chalk it up as you've tried, but either God didn't hear you or He has even rejected you. This is the crossroads... do you press through the pain and disappointment believing that as you diligently seek Him He will in turn reward you with His presence?
Just as it takes time to achieve physical fitness it also takes time to build your spiritual muscles. Don't give up prematurely and abort the work that God is actually doing within you. No matter how it feels, continue showing up, prioritizing your time and doing what's necessary to get to know Jesus. At some point you'll begin to notice the difference.... even your desires begin to change... your appetite for sin becomes a hunger for more intimacy with Him. Soon all those around will begin to notice the difference and some will desire what you have. You'll be stronger, face trials with a new found faith and tenacity and have a peace that's unquenchable. Most importantly you will experience a love like none other... you'll begin to hear His voice and sense His presence as His glory enters the room. It's so worth the effort and the wait.
It doesn't take long to lose all of that if you go back to your old ways and no longer prioritize your time...He must remain first!
Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT) “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
Colossians 1:17(KJV) And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (KJV) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.