S. Lewis: “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
Several years ago I purchase two tickets to Tough Mudder, happening just west of Austin. And while you don’t have to be a triathlete to get through it, it certainly does help.
I have a family history of bad knees. In 1964 my dad received a medical deferment from the draft, and at 70+ years of age, with his bionic knees, my dad walks about half the speed of smell. In the 10th grade I twisted my ankle really bad. As in, so bad I’m still dealing with it. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, but x-rays were required.
So, my first thought was I needed to start working out. I’m not 21 anymore (that ship has sailed) and the older you get, the slower your body is going to recover. Since my weakest point was ankles, that’s where I focused most of my time. I developed a workout routine and eating regimen. Game on.
What I didn’t count on was what brought me down. Two weeks out, I broke a toe. I had two weeks to heal and no way was I going 10 miles on a broken toe. No more road work, no more knees and ankles. Then, three miles into the race, with seven to go, I tore (or something) a thigh muscle. Not being able to lift my leg. I shuffled and dragged it the rest of the way. If it wasn’t for my amazing 5 foot 2 motivator telling me I can finish, I probably wouldn’t have. The next obstacle after my fall was at the top of a hill, and it took quite some time to get up. Halfway up, a goat started following us (seriously, I’m not making this up). In my pain and dehydration, I was sure a burning bush was going to appear onto me.
I’m not real happy with the way I finished, but I did finish. Of the crowd who ran that race that day, I was the last over the line. The sweeper in his ATV was behind me for at least five miles. Surely he kept praying for my miraculous healing so he could just go home.
But, what does that story have anything to do with Christianity? Pretty much everything.
Buying those two tickets was a leap of faith; like, faith that I was actually going to show up. Chickening out was a whole lot easier.
Accepting Jesus takes a leap of faith; that He is who He says He is. Bowing out is a whole lot easier. Ignoring or forgoing the act is an easy task. If you believe, if you have faith, you know you are going to have to act differently. The status quo is much more comfortable than change.
And that is where the maturity of Christianity comes in. Acceptance is the easiest part and that part’s hard. Working toward it to make you stronger requires commitment and is much, much harder. Actually getting out into the mission field and trying to make a difference is the really hard part. You going to get hurt, dirty, tired, and there are a lot of places along the trail where you can just call it quits, hose off and walk back to your car. That flat screen, fridge and a/c are all waiting for you at home.
Jesus never said life was going to be easy. Only charlatans say such things. Christianity is a struggle. It’s a struggle to see past your own needs. It’s a struggle to not fall into envious thoughts, or worse, have your greed being used against you. To put away pettiness, untruthfulness, other ness’s requires new thinking and new actions.
However, isn’t not changing harder? Not gleaning wisdom and discernment to make your relationships better makes your daily life harder. Constantly falling into the same patterns of behavior without having the tools to stop the cycle makes your life harder. Being blissfully unaware of how your myopia is going to screw up your kids, just like your parents did to you, will make your life harder.
We are not called to be perfect. That’s never going to happen. We were, however, called to be better today, than we were yesterday.
And that is something we can all do, regardless of how far we are in our journey.
Published by Deron Reid