Here we are in the middle of this quarantine. Anyone else a little stir crazy yet?
I know I am. So much so that I have to get out of the house for a little bit every day, just to break up the monotony. Sometimes it’s a drive, but many times it’s a good lengthy brisk walk. It’s important for me for another reason as well. I had a heart attack last November. Thankfully after a couple of stents inserted, a cocktail of pharmaceuticals, and some well-deserved rest, my last check-up was stellar. I had permission to move, to exercise.
So my goal is to move, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m moving first and foremost for my heart health and to complement that, I’m moving to lose weight. I know if I don’t get this body moving and exercising, I’m going to lose it. This quarantine isn’t making it any easier, but I try to make the time. I try to motivate myself. I keep telling myself, “Move or die”. I know it’s kind of a hefty dose of guilt, but what can I say, it’s true. Exercise is vitally important to our physical health and mental well-being. Along with other regimes like eating right, taking vitamins, regular exercise, it helps keeps us sharp, focused, limber, healthy.
"Move or die" is one of those “laws” we don’t like, but we have to admit, as harsh as it sounds, it is good for us. It helps us.
Just don’t apply it to my faith.
Don’t tell me, “move or die”, “use it or lose it”, or “your faith better have legs”, in regard to my Christian life. I used to hear that, or some variation of it and it killed me a thousand times over. I know the people who told me these things over and over again were well-meaning and they probably cared about me, but tying my works to my faith never helped me. Those two things tied together were never identical ends of the rope. It was tying an anvil to a feather. If you dropped it off a tall building, you can be sure the feather would be dragged down.
Do I need to tell you faith is the feather and works is the anvil? Of course I don’t. I can point you to scores of people with the same story of failing to measure up because they didn’t move enough, or do enough. Like me, they died a death each time, wondering if they had enough done to validate their faith. I still struggle with this, not like I used to, but its there like an old addiction that never fully goes away, jonesing for its next hit of doubt and fear. Sometimes, I still give in to it.
I still have hope though.
My hope is not in what I do. My hope is in doing nothing,
Instead of “move or die”, I trust in “be still and live”
I trust in Christ on the cross, who leaned into the faith of the criminal unable to move because of his circumstances. “Today, you will be with me…”
I trust in the Christ who sat in Martha’s home with Mary at his feet, who chose the good portion.
I trust in the Christ who shooed away the accusers and said, “neither do I condemn you”
I trust in the Christ who was willing to help a father full of unbelief.
I trust in the “Be Still…” God of the Bible.
I trust in the God of the Bible who has given me this faith as a gift, so I cannot boast in anything of my own. I trust that he holds me as his own, apart from my best work, and apart from my worst work. It’s simply apart from any work, except Christ’s.
I don’t claim perfection in this. You’ve heard me say it here, and in countless other devotions I and others have written on this website. My trust is shaky at times, my faith always seems a bit smaller than a mustard seed. But it’s there, and I, with all my shakiness, will trust in the one who placed it there.
And along the way, I’ll even do some stuff, good stuff. Stuff that family, friends, neighbors, and strangers will need to be done, but it won’t be out of fear of faithlessness, but out of gratefulness of new life.
Move or die?
How about, “Be still and know…”