It’s Hard to Out-Exercise Your Fork
. . . The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, will purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:14
I’ve often thought that if I simply exercised more, I could eat whatever I want and avoid weight gain. I don’t want to change my eating. I just want something that protects me from the consequences. As my wife often reminds me though, I can’t out exercise my fork. I may exercise daily, but if I don’t put any limits on what I eat, I can easily consume enough to exceed what I’ve burned while working out. I can expend 500 calories in an hour at the gym and then wipe that out with a couple of donuts. Still though, I long for something that allows me to continue my self-indulgence without suffering the consequences.
I’ve done this in my spiritual life as well. In my drug addiction, I went to God, asking for help. Even before my life fell apart, my drug use made me miserable. So, I went to God, asking for him to take it away. I wanted my life to go back to normal. My drug use wasn’t my greatest life problem though. My greatest problem was that I followed me above all. I wanted God to take away my addiction, so I could return to living the way I wanted. I didn’t want to change my overall behavior. I just wanted the drugs gone so I could resume my normal life of following me.
Today’s passage reveals the error of my thinking. In it, the author of Hebrews said that God saves me from myself – so that I may follow him. God didn’t just take away my addiction so that I could go back to a life of following me. Rather, he said, Come follow me and your life will never be the same. I feared that. I didn’t want my life to be different. I was afraid of what it meant to follow God’s will above my own. I discovered that if I truly wanted to be free from my addiction though, I had to change the direction of my life. I had to become willing to follow God’s will instead of Scott’s. It was only in doing so, that I found life, joy, and peace.
We all want God to simply take away our struggles so that we may live our way. It is precisely our way that destroys us though. God longs to save us from ourselves for a life of following him. We may fear what this means, but it is only in following him that we truly experience the life for which we were created.