We all have things we know are good for us, and yet we are hesitant to do them or complete them. We know the types of tasks that are hard, monotonous, and not the primary desire of our heart, yet we know are good, respectful, and God-honoring.
This morning I had to complete a pretty significant front squat workout that was at a high percentage and included lots and lots of sets and reps. Everything in my body and mind said to cut the work short. To not do every rep and definitely not complete every set of them. My rationale was I had more work to do after the squats and I didn't want to impact that work with my squats. However, midway through the working set, a couple things came to mind to help motivate me to complete the work as written. Primarily, I was reminded of the truth that an infinite, powerful, all-knowing God created me. What's more, He created me to be excellent at this sport. It would be dishonoring to him to waste the gift and talent that he had given me and that he had motivated so much work in already. If I quit or shorted the reps, it wouldn't just short me, it would make a mockery of the calling God has placed in my life for Olympic weightlifting.
The second thought that went through my head was the effort and time my coach has put into me. It would be a disservice and majorly disrespectful to her if I neglected the work she created for me. She spends her time and her energy making sure that I get the programming and the motivation to help me achieve my goals. She's a solid rock for a lifter who can be wishy-washy and often shrink under the idea of consistent effort. My not finishing the squats as written would take the hard work and effort she puts in me and make less of it.
With these two things in mind, I completed all the sets and reps.
When I think of Jesus's journey to the cross, I can't help but think some of the same emotions and struggles I had this morning could have been similar to His as He approached the cross. In Matthew 26 we read of Jesus praying to the point of tears that God would remove the cup of the Cross from him. He is on his knees praying that God may free him from the calling it placed on His life. And yet his final words were simple, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus felt the fear and the daunting nature of the cross as he prayed in the garden. Yet, despite his emotions, he was obedient to the command and the decree of his father. Obedient all the way to the end.
Jesus knew there were ways out of this dilemma. He knew that he had an ability to circumvent the cross. Yet, because of the father's command, he was obedient. His primary desire was the glory of God and as such there was no real possibility that he could not make much of God and His fulfillment of so many of God's prophecies in His work on the Cross. What's more, Jesus loved the Father. His love for the Father drove him to obedience. Despite the pain that He knew was coming, despite the suffering that He knew was coming, His love for the father carried greater weight.
We have ALL done things we didn't want to do at some point in our lives. We've been obedient when we wanted to take the easy way out. On this Good Friday, I look at Jesus as the model of obedience. There are so many statements within the Bible that demand our obedience such that it would do us well to model the obedience we see in Jesus. God tells us to honor our parents. That's not a request. God tells us to read our Bibles regularly. That's not a request. God tells us to go Church regularly. That's not a request. He gives commands to us, His people, and asks us to obey. He knows, and we know too if we are honest, that our obedience to His commands means greater joy for ourselves and greater glory for God. Christ's obedience on the Cross is the perfect example of this. His obedience to die a death we deserved on our Cross despite the pain and despite the suffering, brought great joy and also great glory.
When we think about all of the exercise related areas of our life where we persevere in obedience, how is it that we don't connect that same discipline to our walk with the Lord? What areas of your life is God asking for obedience, and you're walking in clear disobedience? What areas of your life could you find a greater joy and give God greater glory by responding with an obedient heart? This Good Friday I challenge you to look at the Cross and look at Jesus' obedience to take up that Cross, and may that image drive you to obedience to God's calling on your life. Happy Easter.