Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Glory Days

I’ve been struggling lately with a particular situation, and have been asking the Lord to give me a fresh shot of encouragement in it. Today, He did just that, and I’d like to share it with you.

At the time when I usually go to the gym, there is a particular exercise group just finishing up as I arrive. Most of the people in it are my age or maybe a little older. It’s obviously a class forpeople who are 50 plus, so it’s low-impact, but still offers some cardio. Every time I see these classmates coming out of the studio, sweating and laughing together, there is a twinge of jealousy in my heart, as I long to participate in a class like that, but am unable.

The Lord has been very gracious to me though, giving me power to train my thinking to turn to thoughts of Him, gratitude for the many years that I was able to do that intensity of exercise, and thankfulness for the pool and other modalities that enable me still to exercise regularly. These are all good thoughts, but as I chatted with another lady today, God gave me an even better way of thinking about this, and I am excited to begin training my mind to this response. 

This lady and I were chatting about the days when we used to be able to exercise “with the best of ‘em,” keeping up and loving the endorphins and the sweat. “Those days are gone now though, for sure,” she said to me. “Yes,” I replied. “Those were the glory days!” But even as those words left my mouth, the truth about that statement rang out in my heart. Glory days? Really? Whose glory were you pursuing back in those days when you were exercising your heart out to keep looking good? Who was glorified in your proud habit of daily exercise and weight control? Who was exalted as your friends admired your discipline and fitness? The answer to all these questions is, of course, me, myself, and I!

Back in those days, before I knew Christ, I had no desire to bring glory to Him, but I did have a great and burning desire for my own glory, comfort, and happiness. Without my exercise, I was certain I would be overweight, depressed, and useless, all of which were completely unacceptable to me. Back then, there was nothing more important to me than how I looked in the mirror and in the eyes of those whose opinion of me mattered (which, looking back now, was pretty much everyone)

As these thoughts ran through my head, and I began to see what was really true about those long-ago days, it dawned on me what is really true about today and the days ahead: These are the glory days! Today, I belong to Christ. I was created to bring glory to God (Isaiah 43:7), but back in the days when all my joints worked right, I was unaware of this fact. I had no idea what my purpose in life was, so I pursued worldly achievement and admiration. Today, I am privileged to know the truth about my life’s purpose, and I am blessed by the Holy Spirit with the ability to fulfill it! This trial of physical pain gives me many opportunities to bring glory to God in my response, as I strive to please and honor Him instead of myself.

How about you, my friend? Have you looked back wistfully at your “glory days,” when you were in better shape, and didn’t suffer with pain or disability? I’d like to challenge you today to join me in a new kind of workout. Let’s train our minds to think differently about the past, present, and future when it comes to our bodies. If we think of today and tomorrow as our glory days, we will get into the habit of looking for ways to bring glory to our great God, as He provides the training sessions we need to become more like Him. Are you with me? Let’s praise Him for creating us for His glory.  Hallelujah! What a purpose! What a Savior!