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Results-Oriented Faith

Since running the Flying Pig marathon last year, I have opted to change my workout regimen from legs and heart to abs and arms. This basically equates to doing push-ups and sit-ups 2-3 days a week until I can't do anymore. It started out as 3 sets of 15 push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, and curls. After a month, I was able to do 3 sets of 20. Eventually, 3 sets of 25. Then 4 sets of 20, 3 sets of 30, and now 4 sets of 25. Not rapid progress, but progress nonetheless.

And I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with myself. 100 push-ups before eating breakfast feels like a pretty decent feat. And to top it all, it takes way less time than training for a marathon did.

But then....
...It wasn't designed as a jab. In fact, it really was and is a harmless question. Katie made the comment, "You have been doing a lot of push-ups this past year--have you noticed any change?"

Which could be interpreted as: Even though you spend a couple mornings working out for ten minutes, it doesn't really show. 

Now I realize if I want to really really make a difference in my strength training, two things would need to happen:
-I would need to work out for extended periods of time, not just 10 minutes
-and I would need to stop eating so much sugar (but that isn't going to happen very easily)

But the comment made me stop and think, because I knew that I was experiencing changes even if the changes weren't noticeable outwardly. I knew that I was able to do more sets of more push-ups and sit-ups than when I first started. I knew I was physically stronger and capable of carrying heavier items than a year ago. And I knew that beneath a trim layer of sugar turned into fat there were some decent abs at work.

And it made me wonder about my faith, is it worth doing if you can't notice results? 

Just like a physical workout requires perseverance and determination, so does the spiritual life. And if after working on your spiritual self for months at a time, you can't notice any significant results, is it worth the discipline at all?

I would answer a resounding YES! to this.

Even though I may not be able to see results of my physical workout, I can sense them in my person. I am aware of what I am capable of in spite of my outward appearance, and I know that I am capable of more than I once was.

When I spend time developing my prayer life, or my worship life, or my Bible knowledge, I know that I am growing stronger in those areas, even if people around me cannot notice it.

I think that half the battle with spiritual discipline is just getting out there are flexing those spiritual muscles. We may not all look like Billy Graham or Francis Chan when we finish our spiritual workouts, but we know that we are better for it and that we have grown in the right direction.

So whether you are doing 100 spiritual exercises a day, 60, or 20, I encourage you to keep up the good work, knowing that you are setting the foundation for further spiritual growth down the road.

Maybe you are in a place where you are just sitting on the couch eating potato chips, scoffing those who discipline their body routinely. I encourage you to get in the game--quit making excuses about how you will start spiritual discipline someday but you just don't have the time today. There will never be a better time to start than today, and you aren't promised anything more than today anyway, so get out there and start flexing! You'll be surprised at how good it feels the next day when you become aware of those muscle groups that you haven't utilized in a long time.


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