Last night we had a wonderful worship time at Church. I raised one hand in worship like I sometimes do and my arm began to get tired so I raised both arms. Then both got tired but the presence of God was so strong and rich that I didn't want to put my arms down. Instead I ignored this small momentary pain refusing to let my bodies wants dictate the expression of my spiritual desire.
This may sound strange to some. Worshiping through the pain. Praying on your knees even though your knees hurt. Studying past tiredness. Knocking on one more set of doors. Deciding to rest when I don't want to rest so that I can have more to give the next day. Resisting the resistance.
"Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man." - Proverbs 6:4-11 ESV
The ants are not legalistic. They are not trying to impress anyone. They have no ruler driving them. They have a kind of focus and organization that bears mentioning in the scriptures.
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." - 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV
At times I know it is grace working in me. Other times I'm not sure. There are time when God convicts me that what I am doing is being done in the flesh and to repent by turning to Him and entering into a fresh focus.
"For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe." - 1 Timothy 4:8-10 ESV
Anyone who has trained for anything and has stuck it out for a period of time knows that bodily exercise is of great value. The last set of push-ups when your chest is burning and your arms are shaking is the most valuable set. The lap you didn't want to run is what pushes you from good to great.
If exercising the body is good, and it is, then exercising Godliness has that value and more. I want to live on Earth as if I am already in Heaven. The world, the flesh and the devil will say, 'Let's be realistic. That isn't possible.' I say back, 'My spiritual bones are unbreakable.'
Some might say, 'Great. You are just going to reinforce the legalist's works program with this approach. You are in one yourself.' I say the source is everything.
The fundamental motivation of grace is paramount. I refuse to live in mediocrity. I have been given an instrument and I want to play it. Grace has made me free to give my all. God gave His all to me. Now He is all in all and this old body, mind and soul is getting thrown into the mix by faith.
I choose to exercise my will to function in the quickening available to me in little ways by saying, 'No. I am not ready to stop. This is too good.'