It was the first week of June, 1986.
I stepped on the scale in my mother’s bathroom and frowned.
The results reflected none of the self-control, discipline, and sweat of the last week.
Not one ounce less, but a full two pounds more!
Frustrated, I pulled on my clothes and I went to class.
Having foolishly frittered away nearly all of my first year at college, overwhelmed with freedom and lacking in discipline, I made up for it and attended summer school to graduate on time. One of my classes was a nutrition class. I needed the credits. I had no real interest in the subject, however, coincidentally, I had managed to put on significantly more than the “freshman fifteen” while away at school.
I thought I might learn something that would help pull the pounds off in the 3 months I was home for the summer before returning to school in the fall.
The teacher was a kind woman in her early 30’s. That day she asked me how I was doing. I told her the truth about my struggle with weight. When she found out that I was running 4-6 miles a day and eating next to nothing, we had a discussion about metabolism and muscle building.
I decided to try her advice, add some protein to my diet, up the fruits and veggies, and keep running.
What I didn’t know that I learned from her is that when one starts an exercise and diet program, often there is a weight gain based on the building of muscle. Tons of effort ends up creating the opposite result we are looking for – or so we think.
But while muscle weighs more than fat, it also burns more calories, so added muscle mass will make you weigh more initially, but will burn off significantly more fat in the long run. Because of the steep hills I was running, the workout was more than just a cardiovascular experience, but also built muscle when I didn’t have any to speak of before.
I lost the weight that summer, and I changed my habits for my lifetime.
I also picked up the credits I needed, while working, and managed to graduate on time.
I didn’t see many of my friends that summer. I went to work and went to class.
And I ran.
It was all hard work, but worth it.
May I suggest that the same is true for your marriage?
Here’s the deal…Either God’s Word in the Bible is true, or it’s not.
The extent to which we are willing to obey it and trust in it (not just “try” it, but perseveringly obey it), communicates clearly what kind of faith we have – whether it is thin and weak, or strong and growing.
And our level of faith determines our level of HOPE. I have hope for your marriage. I have hope for mine – and since marrying in 1991, I can say we’re starting to see Glory, and what He intended. We are both better people because of the work God’s done in us through the context of marriage.
And in our “instant gratification” and “quick fix” culture, someone needs to tell you it will take a while, be hard work, but you’ll both be holier and filled with peace and joy if you stick it out and obey God’s Word. You’ll still be married to a sinner saved by grace, but you both will be able to extend more of that to each other, and see each other the way He sees you…
Someone needs to tell you that anger is a secondary emotion, and what you are really dealing with is someone who is hurting.
Will you be the grown up and take the first step today? Will you be brave and trust God?
Will you trust His Word with me today? Will you DO what He says? As a husband, will you actively choose to love your wife, communicating that love in a way she can hear? As a wife, will you choose to respect your husband and submit to his authority?
If neither of you really know what that looks like, will you ask God to help you figure it out?
Will you be “quick to listen, slow to speak and even slower to become angry” as it says in James 1:19?
Will you DO what He says (read the entire book of James – the Bible is clear that we can’t “earn” our way to heaven, but faith without works IS dead) even if you are doing it poorly until you figure out how to do things well? Will you be that humble?
1Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. 2 A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers. 3The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts. 4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue. 5 Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. 6Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. 7 Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince. 8A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers. 9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. 10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool. 11 An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him. 12 Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly. 13 If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house. 14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. 15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD. 16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense? 17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. 18 One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor. 19 Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction. 20A man of crooked heart does not discover good, and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity. 21 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy. 22A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice. 24The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. 25A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him. 26To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness. 27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
What did He say to YOU this morning?
Double dog dare you to share, triple dog dare you to let us know what YOU are doing to obey God’s Word today. Remember, if you are focused on the behavior of your spouse, that’s the sin of judgment.
So glad to be on this journey with you! The “results” take TIME. Consistent application. Effort. Sweat. Self-denial.
And they are so worth it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going running.
Love to you,
Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Your race matters.
Your kids are part of the cloud of witnesses watching you.