After four years of running, I wished I had put more miles under my shoes than I have. I feel like I have been running forever and I’ve gotten nowhere. Looking back at the miles I have logged, I can’t seem to see any difference in my times or pace. My legs seem to not be any stronger and my miles have dropped significantly. Where I was once close to a half marathon I am now barely above a 5k. But yet I know something’s different. I can feel it. The past couple months I can sort of see improvements, but the problem is that they are not in ways I was expecting or hoping.
Have you ever been so excited about a goal you have set or a plan you have carefully laid out, only to find out the harder you work at it, the farther you seem to get away from what you had envisioned? It seems most of the time the harder I work at something, the harder it is to move forward, the more difficult it gets and the more I want to give up.
Did you know the Bible says “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it”? (Matthew 10:39) The world around us is constantly saying the opposite, “Don’t give up, pursue your dreams, follow your heart.” They say, “You are capable of so much, keep going.” In a sense this one is true because we can do all things through Christ because he strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13) But we seem to forget the middle part, “Through Christ”. We must remember what John 15:5 says, “For without me [Jesus] ye can do nothing.”
During a race, we pour our hearts out during the first however many miles and then comes the last one – that final mile between me and the finish line. That final stretch where we push our bodies as hard and as fast as we can making sure we use every last bit of strength we have. The worst feeling after a hard run is when you realize you had more left you could have given. And that feeling is worsened when you realize you were only seconds away from your goal.
Many people in life are trying their best to get to heaven. They make sure their goods outweigh their bad. They make it a meaningless ritual of going to God in prayer. There are some others that live a life of lies, thinking they can enjoy life in the now and when they get around to it they might consider following Christ.
You’re trying too hard, He told me
“You’re trying too hard,” I heard God say as I bent over, with a heaving chest and feeling of failure. He reminded me of the verses I shared above along with this passage,
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but it if die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:24-26)
When are we going to realize that Jesus has a far better plan for our lives than we could ever imagine? When are we going to see that life is found in Christ? How long will it take before we acknowledge that we can do nothing in and of ourselves? Even Jesus said He can’t do anything unless He sees the Father do it. Why are we to expect that we can?
There is a better way to live this life. There is a more rewarding way. A healthier way. A stronger way. But we must choose to die to ourselves and take up Jesus’ yoke. Almost every morning since I decided to yield to God’s will instead of my own, I surrender everything to Him and ask Him what He wants me to do that day. Some days the tasks are difficult and some days they are simple and yet some days there is nothing different than the day before; it all depends on what He wants of me that day.
I’ve lived a life trying to seek my own pleasures and it felt like everything I did came to a dead end – the door was shut. I tried climbing through windows, beating on closed doors, wedging between cracks in the walls, but nothing ever seemed to work. God protected me for many years before I finally gave in to His will. I struggled in the yoke with Jesus for a long time before I finally submitted. Oh how good and peaceful of a life it is! I only wished I had seen this pasture beside the still waters as pleasant then as it is to me now! What a difference in life I could have had! Were it not for grace I would still be wondering down some pointless road to nowhere! Jesus went that final mille between me and heaven! Oh what a glorious day that will be when I finally meet with my Saviour in the clouds!
As a grand finale, Were it Not for Grace by Larnelle Harris is a song a friend shared with me months ago. I asked Changing our Hearts over on YouTube to sing it for me; please Enjoy!