Yesterday I got to play outside. I walked in the sunshine! I Zoomed from the park! And when I came home, smelling like the sun, my family pulled me back out the door for a bike ride. Oh, friends, yesterday felt so good!
Admittedly, for the past few days, the boys (and little men…and big man) in my family have ridden their bikes every day. They invited me each time, but each time I said “no, thanks. I have to make dinner. I have to work. I have to…”
But after yesterday I’m wondering, why did I resist? The sun and my beloved boys were beckoning and I said, “Meh.”
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to slip into resistance to the things that are good for us?
The diet was going great, and you felt great! Those skinny jeans were getting easier to zip! So why did you quit?
The exercise plan was working! You felt so strong and were getting stronger! So why did you quit?
You were keeping the house clean. It was so nice to look around and not feel stressed out by clutter! So why did you quit?
Oh, I’m so sorry, friends, I’m really not trying to make you feel badly! But I do all those things all the time! Why do I quit?
I’ve noticed that the same thing happens in my walk with God. When I am having regular Bible study and prayer times I love it! I’m excited about what I’m learning, I’m feeling more peace and contentment throughout my day. So why do I quit?
When I am having regular Bible study and prayer times I love it! …So why do I quit?
One day I have a hard time finding time in a busy day to connect with God. At first I’m sad and I miss that sweet prayer time. The second day when I miss my quiet time with God, I don’t mind as much. Very quickly – too quickly! – I slip into a resistance to God. I feel resentful that he wants part of my day. I’m a busy mom! I have work to do and my list is a mile long!
More quickly than I could even imagine, I forget that spending time with my Heavenly Father isn’t just a requirement or the duty of a Christian, but a privilege, a gift to bring peace on the hard days and joy in his small blessings.
So, when we feel that itch to quit beginning to nag at our hearts, what can we do to keep our eyes fixed on God?
When You Want to Refuse Him, Remember Instead
“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”
2 Peter 1:12-15
As Paul led the churches around the world, he wasn’t afraid to remind them continually of the most foundational truths. He knew that the Gospel – the good news of Jesus, given by God to save a lost and desperate people, which we ourselves were – was the answer to every doubt or struggle in our walk with God.
The way Rev. Timothy Keller phrases it is that the Gospel is not just the ABC’s of the Christian life, it is the A-Z, the way we should turn at every step. (See this article.)
For a beautiful and succinct summary of the Gospel, refer to what Paul said just one paragraph above this passage, in 2 Peter 1:3-4:
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
When you find your flesh wanting to refuse God’s nudges, remember the beautiful, undeserved gift that he is to us.
When You Want to Resist Him, Rest Assured in Him Instead
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
Once I’ve slipped into resisting God I often find myself thinking somehow I need to earn back a relationship with him. This is ridiculous, friends. God is not a spiteful middle school girl who wants you to “talk to the hand” because you weren’t friendly enough in first period.
No! God bridged every gap once and for all when His Son died on the cross for our sins. No sacrifice for sins is left! (Hebrews 10:14, 18)
This means that if you are a Christian – if you have put your trust in Jesus’ righteousness on your behalf – then when you realize your mistake in resisting God, you return. You turn around and come back to him. It is as simple as that! You don’t have to do better and try harder. You simply return and trust.
This is another unbelievable part of the gift that Christ’s sacrifice achieved for us!
Instead of Regret, Rely
“It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
The good news of the Gospel is that our fate isn’t in our hands anymore! Our eternity won’t be based on whether we were good enough. No, it is God who is at work in us to grow us into his faithful followers. The harder we grip our growth and our goodness with our own hands, the more we slow down his gracious work in our lives. We’ll be so busy worshipping our goodness or swimming in shame for our bad-ness, that we’ll forget he’s even there!
The more firmly we grip our growth and our goodness with our own hands, the more we slow down God’s gracious work in our lives.
Growth comes when we rely on him, our gracious Redeemer and Friend.
Think About It
- Is there something good in your walk with God that you’ve been resisting rather than enjoying lately?
- One way to turn from resistance to resting in him is to remember what he has done for us. What has God done for you? Write it all down – even the big and obvious things, and the small and insignificant things.
- Are you tempted to sit in spiritual regret? What do you think God would like to say to you about that? (Read through Romans 8 for help.)