Well I finally did it – this morning at 8:30 I got back to what had been a regular routine and went to our local Curves. It’s been quite a while. I’ve had good intentions all summer – ‘next week,’ I’d tell myself, ‘next week I’ll go.’ But ‘next week’ came and went and I still had not managed to do it. All my good intentions did nothing to give me the satisfaction and the improved health that comes with being in the regular habit of exercising.
I had lots of excuses. My schedule was already quite full when, well, you might say all heaven broke loose and I was named the Best Canadian Christian Author. That meant my novel was going to be published and that meant I had lots of work to do before sending it off to the editor. And it was a busy summer in other ways, with home renovations, a visit from my mother-in-law, and then there were holidays.
When September arrived I thought the old routines will fall back into place. Not so. It wasn’t easy to finally make it happen. I had to use my will power to get out bed this morning and go to Curves. Why did it take me so long to do it? And will I be able to maintain it? Will simple will power be enough?
Why is it so hard to maintain other good habits, like reading my Bible, memorizing scripture and writing this column consistently? I know these are habits that will improve my spiritual health. So why is it so hard to do them?
The apostle Paul once expressed his frustration at not doing what he knew he should do. In fact he admitted he often did the very thing he knew he should not do. I’m so glad that passage (Romans 7:14-24) is included in scripture. And I’m so glad he asked and answered a vital question after admitting his weakness – “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v.24-25).
Paul knew he could not conquer his own nature by himself. He needed the spirit of God to enable him. As do we all. None of us can be good without God. None of us can maintain good spiritual habits simply by will power. We need God to help us because our own nature is against us and there is an enemy of our souls who will put every barrier in our way to prevent it from happening.
We need God. We need to rely on his strength to accomplish the things he wants us to do. Like Paul, we must admit that we are weak, unable to make life work on our own. And as Paul said, “thanks be to God” – we have a saviour who is eager to help us once we admit that weakness. All it takes is a little humility.
I’m back at Curves, back writing this column. Praise God that with his help I can continue.