My dog is a Lab, and she’s grown to be a little too big… And by “grown”, I don’t mean like a puppy growing into a normal-sized dog. I mean a lot of eating, and not enough walking/running (this can be credited to my parents). She’s about to be 10 (70 in dog years), and I made a decision about 2 months ago to get her whipped into shape. So 3-4 nights a week, we’ll go running around the neighborhood. She has improved a ton, but that really has nothing to do with this post.
Some nights after we go running I’ll finish with a variation of push-ups. Usually I’ll do about 800, then call it a night (okay, maybe not quite 800…). So one night I finished up my assortment of weird variations of push-ups, and I won’t lie, I was feeling shredded. My muscles were burning, I was flexing in the mirror and bowing up to my dad, asking him what he’d done that day.
Then my mom says to our family, “cookies are ready!”
I didn’t even realize what had happened until I was taking a shower a few minutes later (I’m pretty sure each of my blogs has been thought up in the shower, LOL).
I worked hard. I had run a couple of miles and I had done some push-ups. I got in better shape….. Then I ate the cookies.
I think this can be a picture of our walk with Jesus at times…
Maybe we improve ourselves a little bit spiritually by going to church, or a bible study, or a worship night. But then we just erase our progress, and fall into our temptations to eat some cookies that are delicious for just a moment, yet never yield the satisfaction or results that we desire.
Maybe we work hard for a week. 7 days, 2 workouts a day. We go to church camp, or on a retreat, or on a mission trip, and we are on fire for God, but sure enough, we go right back to our cookies and slowly diminish what we worked hard for.
It can be difficult to go through this constant cycle of hard work. It can be very discouraging.
I want to give you two pieces of applicable advice and one big, very important reminder on this topic.
- Stop buying cookies – cookies are a lot less tempting when you don’t let them in your house. You may have to go to different places, you may have to surround yourself with different people, you may have to watch different shows or movies. The Bible says to flee from temptation; to avoid it at all costs.
- Create a distaste for cookies – realize that God only wants what’s best for you. He only wants to protect you. He knows that the cookies may taste good, but they aren’t what’s best for you in the long run. We have to start wanting what God wants, and hating what God hates.
And here’s the reminder – I don’t want you to miss this, because if you’re going to take anything away from this blog, let it be this reminder: God is not ashamed of your cookie-eating problems. He is not afraid of your mess or your insatiable appetite for sin. He wants to be with you through the process – even when you rebel and eat some cookies. Even when you waste all those push-ups; He is PROUD of you and He has CHOSEN to love you, not BECAUSE of you, but in SPITE of you.
Let this resonate in your life: even when I choose cookies over the fitness plan God has for me, God sees the potential in me to be a spiritual Olympian, and He wants to be with me every step of the way. And even if I never become a “spiritual Olympian”, I am treasured, loved, and cared for by God.