I have always found running, cycling and swimming to be excellent sporting activities to engage in if you want to clear your mind.
You see, these are physical disciplines which involve repetitive movement of your body.
Once you master your form and gait, you eventually flow into the zone, and your mind switches onto auto-pilot mode.
At this point, your marvellous body takes over and moving forward feels effortless.
This also happens to be the time when I “wrestle” with God in thoughts and shoot questions to Him.
“Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the human nature”
Galatians 5: 16-17, NIV
I have often asked God, “If you had indeed created me to be an intelligent being with an imaginative mind, a free will and an autonomous self, most importantly a SELF, why do you not let me go the way of my self?”
Is it not frustrating to have a “self” and not be able to follow the ways of the self?
One might as well resign himself to being a marionette tugged at and controlled by its puppeteer?
It strikes me that the “self” that we have is really a distorted self.
Unfortunately, much to our chagrin, we, all man men and women, are born with a ‘twisted self’.
Only by following and living by His ways, can we then become the perfect, beautiful, good and pleasing self that God had designed us to be.
It dawned upon me that I still get to keep my “self”, and it is precisely that I have a “self” that I am allowed to choose between following this “self” and the Spirit.
I must qualify that it takes immense strength to walk away from what the “self” tells me.
It gets easier with every step I take closer to the Spirit, though.
To truly live, you need to first die.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
John 12:24, NIV
I find this concept of dying to live anew very similar to our muscles becoming stronger.
How can one build stronger, more resilient muscles?
By breaking them down.
When muscles are stressed slightly beyond the load they can bear, microtears result in the fibres. As a result of the micro-trauma, the muscles will begin a process of recovery.
It will build up and replenish tissue.
When it becomes striated properly, a better matrix is formed and there is less fat left in between muscles.
Often times, the repaired muscle becomes stronger and more powerful than what it used to be.
The muscle’s transformation to a better ‘self’ is predicated by a prior process of being broken down.
Keep in step with the Spirit!
Reflection and Prayer Pointers:
- What are some areas in your life that God is urging you to ‘die to self’?
Take some time to surrender those areas to God and allow the Holy Spirit to direct you forward.
- Are there physical/spiritual disciplines that you have been procrastinating?
How can you schedule your life to factor in time for those disciplines?