The alarm rings. I roll over and shut it off. It's early. Still dark out. I'm supposed to get up to go to the gym. I tuck deeper into the bed. The warmth of the covers feels good and I don't want to get up, but I do.
I make the bed, trying hard to keep my eyes open. I shuffle to the bathroom and within 10 minutes, I'm grabbing my keys and heading out the door.
I open up the door to the indoor track and see a man running for all he's worth. Ugh!! I start walking and start praying.
My goal is to walk/run a mile in 15 minutes. It takes 8 laps to walk a mile and I plan to do 3 miles, so I count 24 laps, 3 of which I will run. The first 4 laps go by fast and then as I finish the 5th, I know I need to start running. This is the hard part for me. I'm working up to it. I continue on, all alone on the track now. I start thinking about the scripture in 1 Corinthians where Paul says, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:" The NIV translation says "I beat my body and make it my slave..." I feel like that is what I'm doing - beating my body into submission. It does not want to be here; it does not want to run, but my spirit is stronger and overcomes. I encourage myself and speak to my body - "You can do this, you can do this, one foot in front of the other." I run and make it around without too much of a problem. Only 18 more laps to go!!
I begin to think of the war between the flesh and the spirit. It is an on-going war, for sure, and one I don't always win. Sometimes, I don't even try to fight; it seems easier to give in.
I wonder about the day ahead and how many victories will I win.
I'm finally finished; made it and also achieved my goal - 3 miles in 45 minutes!!
Breathing hard, I do my cool down exercises, gather my things and head home. As I pull out of the parking lot, there are a few cars ahead of me. The light ahead is green, but the first car is poking along, finally turns through the green light, but the second car is even slower, so by the time I finally get there, the light has turned to yellow and I have to stop. Knowing that this light is a long one, I'm exasperated and mad at those drivers because they didn't go faster so I could get through.
There ya go, I say to myself. After all those victories, here's your first loss. And I wonder how many I am going to chalk up this day. All of a sudden, walking/running around the track seems a whole lot easier than dealing with the attitudes of my heart.
Lord, change my heart.
When the temptation comes to be annoyed, will I choose patience?
When the temptation comes to get angry, will I be gracious?
When the temptation comes to judge, will I be merciful?
"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law."
Will I react in the flesh or respond in the spirit today? Will the fruit of the Spirit be evident in my life today? Will I choose to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit which gives life?At home, I shower, have breakfast and begin working on this blog, feeling the Lord leading me to share the struggle of the flesh vs the spirit today. I hear a "ping" from my phone and expecting an important email, I check to see if that's it. It's not, it's an email from a friend asking me to pray for her today -
"pls pray for me I have a cple interesting mtgs today at work :) thanks, may His spirit take over and not the flesh.. :)"
Wow, I chuckle - God, you are amazing. You are always at work.
This IS an age old struggle we all deal with and we all, seeking Him, desire to be victorious in this battle. This is a war we will fight until we go home to be with the Lord. Will I do it my way or will I choose God's way? When you take it apart in your mind, the choice is obvious, but when we walk in the reality of the battle, the choice is sometimes very hard.
Paul expresses our dilemma so well -
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
And then he gives us the answer -
"I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Only in Him is it possible to overcome. Only as I surrender my will to His, can I be victorious!
How many choices will I face today and in how many will I be victorious? What will my count be at the end of the day? I wonder.......
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Let us walk in that victory today!!