Monday, July 20, 2009

God on the Greenway: Accomplished Through Christ

I ran on the Greenway yesterday. It had been a week since I had had a good run. The past week had been busy and I didn’t get the chance to run on the Greenway in my normal routine way. I was grateful to be able to run again, even though I wasn’t really in the mood for it. I seem to get that way with exercise. I like whatever I’m doing for a while, but then need to change it up to something fresh and different. So, I prayed for the strength, endurance, and desire to get it done because I wasn’t feeling it at all. Add to that the fact that I felt tired (even after a Sunday nap) and “blah” and I REALLY didn’t want to bother to run. It’s in these moments where I need Christ the most; to enable me to do what is beyond myself.

I also knew that if I am to run my first race (next Saturday at Swiss Days) I had to maintain myself by continuing to run. Last week, I had sought to find out if I could run three miles in forty minutes or less. I wasn’t “feeling” it last week either, but I made it in just over forty (I think it was). I was hoping that I could beat that this time; even though I probably felt at least equally “blah” as I did last time.

As always, prayer changes things! I started out and actually started to enjoy myself. I felt as though I were going at a good pace. It was about my “normal” pace, or maybe even slightly more than that. I tried to push for more, and eventually was running a little bit faster towards the end of my three miles. I knew that I was probably pushing more than I should because my hips were feeling it and my heart rate monitor showed a number that was higher than my determined “limit”. However, I kept going. Sometimes, even if I feel a little awful, I feel as though my body is on “auto-pilot”. It’s those moments where I feel as if God is truly running it for me, because on my own I would NOT have the strength to do so and to keep pushing. My flesh cries out, “Oh, just give up! Stop! You’ve done enough! It doesn’t matter anyways!” Though, my spirit says, “Yes, it does matter! Don’t quit! Keep going!! Through Christ, you can do anything!” And so, I continue on; knowing and feeling that the power of Christ is enabling me to persevere beyond any strength that “I” have. It is sooooooooooooo NOT ME! “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

As I was nearing the end of the three miles, I was happy to see that my timer showed that I was significantly BELOW forty minutes! I was thrilled!! It had been my hope that maybe I could eventually do it in thirty to thirty-five minutes. However, slightly over thirty-six is where I finished!! “Thank You God!” I said! Then, I walked my last mile on the Greenway; confident and satisfied (and grateful for the power and strength of God!).

Jesus is the untapped power that so many of us never get a hold of. We find power in our own selves and think that we are sufficient enough. For many people, it even seems to work. “Seems”. Sooner or later, a person finds out that they aren’t a finely tuned machine and that eventually, they burn out. Feeding on your own strength eventually leaves you with a dry well. Besides that, the water you were drinking was never quality stuff anyways. No matter who you are (or where you are) in your life, you will one day come face to face with that fact. Then, the choice will be what to do about the well. Do you refill it again with inferior water, or do you look for a new source? If so, will that new source be the pure Living Water that you have always truly been searching for, or will it be just another cistern?

I have pondered this fact more and more as I go through “The Lord’s Table” course study. Living Water has been the subject of the lesson for the past couple of days. Personally, I don’t want to be the woman at the well anymore; drawing from and consuming water that doesn’t satisfy. It’s like saltwater; it only makes you thirstier and you keep going back to it. It’s an endless cycle. Then, Jesus shows up and changes it all. The course pointed out the fact that when she encountered Christ and ran back to town, she left her jar at the well. Any number of assumptions could be made about why, but I know if I were in her shoes (and in so many ways I am) it would be because Jesus has captivated my attention and I can think of nothing else. I am thinking about His water and not my own. I’m no longer worried about my own business, but about Him. The more I get into this course study, the more I not only want to leave my water pot behind, but smash it as well! Though, as they also point out, it’s not food that is the problem (and we need it to survive). It’s all about the heart and our truest needs inside. Food and drink can and should be enjoyed; but not beyond the point of moderation and sustainability.

All of these blessed things that I am gleaming from the course is not only affecting my eating, but every area of my life. It gives me self-control and help with my exercise too. That is why I gave it my best, and then had the satisfaction in stopping and walking. Sometimes, my stubborn self pushes beyond what I know I should - even though exercise is a “good” thing. I am reminded that there is a time for everything, and that just as there is a time to go, there is also a time to slow or stop. Sometimes I want to ignore that because I reason that I have had days where I ran far more and that I can, and should, be able to do that each time. Though, I don’t think that’s reasonable or even wise. Every day is different; especially the days in which I haven’t run in a while. My flesh is going to learn that life doesn’t revolve around it and that it doesn’t command me. The flesh is a whiny spoiled brat and a stubborn and ruthless master! The only way it will be mastered is by submission to the one and only TRUE MASTER: Jesus Christ!

May God’s grace and peace truly be with you! Connect yourself with Jesus and experience the amazing power to live and be beyond what you thought was possible! You’ll find that you can be more in Christ than you ever could on your own!! God bless you!!

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