I confess to cheating. I eat a few stolen calories I don’t add to my count. I spend money on an outfit and hope it goes unnoticed. Oh and another really bad one…I cut my walk by skimping off the cul-de-sac.
Sure, I know those aren’t horrible cheats, but the other day I realized how sometimes the littlest cheat can short cut a blessing.
I often need shoving out the door for any kind of excursion, but when it involves exercise, we might be talking fork-lift. Once I’m on my way, blue skies, green trees, and fresh air usually take over. It’s that push to take a walk that far too often robs me of the outdoors.
You can call it laziness. I prefer to look at it Biblically, “there’s a lion outside.”
(“The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!’” Proverbs 22:13 ESV)
I can’t do that today
This week, the spring weather glowed with sunshine and flowers. Trees had just unfurled green leaves. Azalea bushes overflowed with bright colors. I approached my “optional” cul-de-sac. Actually I couldn’t even see it yet, but I already had determined it would be a cheat day before I got there. My body seemed to have dragged itself into the decision of “I can’t do that today.”
As I approached however, the voice of reason assured me in a tone of pure guilt. “Whimp.” ( Aka: “Sluggard”)
With pangs of conscience slowly eating up the ground under me, I said out loud, “You can do this.”
And so I did. I wasn’t sorry I made the extra effort.
If I hadn’t gone into the cul-de-sac, I would have missed the most glorious patch of irises with a halo of sunshine highlighting them. I wouldn’t have realized what I’d missed of course, but nonetheless, I’d never have known their joy. I’d not have taken that lingering blessing with me.
So often in our Christian life, we are tempted to skimp spiritually.
“I can attend church from my couch.”
“I don’t have time to read the Bible today.”
“I should pray about it…later, when I have time.”
And we miss something spectacular.
Although we aren’t struck by the lightening of God’s disapproval, we miss that gasp at His majesty and the sweetness of a gift He prepared for us.
Probably most of us chafe a bit under the idea of laziness. We already feel far too busy. Deadlines to meet, relationships to foster, work to be done. It’s hard to figure out the right balance, and time is a difficult commodity to relinquish. But the Bible actually has a lot to say about both hard work and laziness, and that “s” word, “sin,” comes up where we might not like to hear it.
However, another kind of laziness, a lackadaisical approach toward Scripture and spiritual disciplines threatens as well. It short changes the delights waiting for us, and reveals how high Jesus sits on the altar of our lives.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24 NIV
If time in the Word and prayer is like a cul-de-sac we can lop off and cheat, all of life will be affected. Nourished believers feed themselves on the delights of God’s presence. When our divine intake goes forward on lethargic spiritual diets, we cheat God and we cheat ourselves. Nourished believers feed themselves on the delights of God’s presence Click To Tweet
My lack of true delight for exercise shows in my desire to cut it short. But taking the effort to walk around that extra little circle magnificently reminded me of God’s desire to meet with me, to display His glory in small and ordinary things, so in turn I can see in Him the Extraordinary.
We never waste time when we take it to reflect on His attributes, savor His presence, and devour His Word. I felt so grateful God allowed me the opportunity and energy to walk that extra cul-de-sac. It took a few minutes longer but it brightened my entire day.
We never waste time when we take it to reflect on His attributes, savor His presence, and devour His Word Click To TweetI’m not cured of cheat-walks, they will still happen with changing weather, dictating schedules, and my annoying lack of desire. But the lesson I can’t ignore will continue. As I daily immerse myself in God’s Word and meet with Him in prayer, my walk with Him becomes much more than a list to check off, it is life-giving.
Us humans are so predicable. We all have our little lies and cheats that we feel will go unnoticed. But God knows our hearts and minds and nothing is hidden from Him. Thank you for the reminders to not cheat on our relationship with Him.
Thanks Tony! Your comment is so true. We are predictable. We certainly can be grateful that God knows our hearts and loves us completely. I appreciate your comments always!
Nancy E. Head
Amen, Sylvia! Thank you for the encouragement to do the most instead of the least.
Nancy thank you! The most instead of the least. I like that!
I want to slay that lion!
I don’t want to “miss the gasp”!!!!!
I don’t want to miss the irises!
Nancy, Great to hear from you. I have a difficult time thinking of you missing the irises! Thanks for reading and I love hearing from you!
Hmmm that last line … I need to check myself to be careful not to see my time with God as a list to check off but as the life giving, strengthening, and encouraging aroma that it is.
Thanks Sharon. I think it can slip into that so easily for all of us. But I am so grateful Jesus wants it to be so much more! I appreciate the comment. Thank you!