In both my faith and my fitness, I often find my actions to be increasingly inconsistent with what I know to be true, and I have to take steps to fix that.
I know that I owed a debt to God I couldn’t pay. I also know that Jesus paid that debt for me when He died, and that He proved His money was good when He rose from the tomb. Because I have trusted in this personally, I know that I am both loved and liked by God. I am adopted into His family, stand innocent before Him, and can approach Him boldly. He is the center of my life. And yet, I often find myself focused on other things to the neglect of what He has called me to do. I also find myself trying to either earn the favor that I already have, or doing things I ought not just because I have it.
In my fitness journey to get stronger and stay healthy, I know that the basics are to lift increasingly heavier weight, eat the right foods in the right amounts, and get enough rest. I stay pretty consistent with the weights, but I often find myself not eating enough protein or wasting my calories a bit too often on succulent donuts. I also tend to skimp on sleep when I have a particularly busy week.
What I am saying is this. Sometimes we need to just take a minute, think of the basics of what we believe and know we ought to stick to, and evaluate how we can improve. How we can dial in and tighten up our lives.
Jesus’ letter to the church in Ephesus was a mixed one. He praised them for calling out false teachers and for not growing weary. But He also told them “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” -Rev 2:4-5a.
The Ephesians were dong some things well, but they had begun to allow their actions to slip away from their core beliefs. While they still held to their faith and practiced it, they had allowed their love and affection for Christ himself to grow colder and to wane. They had begun to do things just because they knew they should, but without the love that drove them to do them in the first place.
So how do we fix it when this happens? Jesus gave the answer right after He told them the problem: We return to what we were doing and the things that were working when we started out. We get back in God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-3, 1 Peter 2:2), , in talking to Him and asking Him to help us (Matthew 7:7-8, James 4:8, Psalm 51:12), in being on mission for Him (Matthew 28:19-20), in meeting with other Christians and stirring one another up (Hebrews 10:24-25). These things help us return to the way we loved Him at first. Don’t over-spiritualize it, we must do practical things that provide results.
My next several posts will provide some practical tips on how to do this, both in faith and fitness.