My friend, may I ask you a question? What compels you to stay healthy? Are you a slave for the sake of your body? How about other things in life? Would it be better if you walked in the spirit of righteousness to benefit the spirit rather than your body?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
For decades I have been in the habit of walking a mile or so every morning. I started this routine while in my early thirties and today, over thirty years later, nothing much has changed, other than, perhaps, the pace. Over the course of years I’ve walked with a dog on leash, jogged, even race-walked. No matter the speed or style however, it’s always been a morning routine and continues to this day. I once was asked why I enjoyed walking all those miles, literally over 7,000 through the years. My response may have been surprising. I flatly responded that there was hardly a morning I didn’t ask “Why am I doing this?” or “Do I really want to.” I would estimate that over 99% of the time “do” won over “don’t” nonetheless. And the reason is simple. Although exercise and healthy living are part of the motivation, the real motivation is spiritual. This thirty minutes in the morning is my time to pray, praise and give thanks to my Lord who has so generously guarded, blessed and kept my life all these years. That’s what pushes me over the edge Monday through Friday. My body says I don’t really need to walk today; my spirit tells me I really should. The latter trumps the former 99% of the time.
There are two ways I could approach walking a mile every morning regardless of the weather or the pressing of other matters in life. I could do it because I am so motivated by the biting cold or sweltering humidity that bodily comfort is of little concern, or I do it because communing with the Spirit of our Heavenly Father is so rewarding and satisfying, physical comfort and the pressing of the clock just don’t seem to matter as much. The first option is natural, but the second is spiritual. The power of the latter goes without saying.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians. “Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise” (Galatians 4: 21-24). Walking in the morning is similar. The law of staying healthy would dictate that I do so for the sake of my body. It’s natural, but not very compelling. However, the divine promise that walking in the spirit of righteousness will benefit the spirit, is far more compelling.
I choose to walk in the morning because I am not a slave to being healthy despite the fact that I desire to be healthy. I choose to walk because I am a slave to a fellowship in Christ that compels me to pursue righteousness. F. B. Meyer put it this way. “Paul says that the Galatians must choose between their slavish observance of outward ritual and a simple faith in the finished work of Jesus; and exhorts them to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, which savor of the flesh, and to give themselves to the service of the Spirit, which stands for freedom, peace, and joy in God. Let us also guard against a religious scrupulosity and subservience to the outward, and cultivate a quick sensitiveness to the Holy Spirit.” You and I ought never to be slave to anything in this life, except Christ. Examine your life today and discover the joy of doing and living, not because your natural inclination is to serve yourself, but because serving Christ makes the effort far more rewarding.
We pray. Heavenly Father, there are so many things in life with which we become disciplined, but there is only one thing that gives us the enslavement that works for our righteousness, enslavement to your Word, Jesus Christ. Sometimes we hear its calling through the Spirit, but don’t respond, knowing that once we do, the Spirit will remove the natural tendencies we have in life, replacing them with a righteousness that will never let us go. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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