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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No pain, no gain



I like to run. Wait, let me qualify that. I like to run in warm, dry weather. I hate being cold so running in the wet winters of Oregon has always made it a challenge to exercise during the winter months. And, I'm at an age where I don't really have the option to not exercise if I want to stay healthy into my old age. I know that my wife would kill me if I died before her and left her a single mom while I got to enjoy my "mansion on a hill" in heaven.

I've never in my life worked out at a gym. Those of you who know me personally can attest to that fact. I'm thin and wiry with no muscle tone (not that anybody but DeeDee gets to see). I have no pecs. I would never need a "bro" in Seinfeld terms. I have bad posture, which I'm told could be helped if I'd buff up those pecs a little. Sadly I've lacked the discipline and drive to do anything about it. I've also never been able to overcome inertia to do anything about the sixpack I've always wanted.

Well, the perfect storm hit and I joined a gym. I decided that since I'm there, running on the treadmill while watching Netflix (which is a totally awesome way to run on a treadmill), that I would work on my other muscular deficiencies. I mean, I might as well take advantage of the opportunity while I have it.

I ache everywhere. And because I work out three times a week...it never goes away. I don't know how people do it year in and year out. And I totally recognize that the ache means I am building muscle - which I want - but I haven't yet gotten to the point where I can see any of the results. Still no pecs. Still a two-liter instead of a six-pack.

No pain, no gain. Whoever came up with that phrase should be forced to sit through every opera ever written (unless they like opera, but I'm thinking the five people in the world who do like opera probably don't hang out at the gym much).

Of course it's a great metaphor for our spiritual lives. Our spiritual journey is a marathon that requires us to train in order to make it across the finish line. Most of our training happens in places where we don't see the results for years to come. But if we don't train we'll never make it up the hill at mile five, or across the dessert at mile 19.

We'll never have spiritual abs or pecs, but just remain flabby and out of shape.

How is your spiritual training going? Are you still on the couch watching tv? Have you given up because you don't like the ache of a good spiritual workout? Or because you don't see instant results?

Run the race to win. See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.