Obedience often precedes desire

This is the first of a blog series called “Running the Race.” Most Thursdays, I will be sharing what God has and is teaching me through my running experiences. Even if you aren’t a runner or athlete (honestly, I’m not either!), I hope you find encouragement to tackle your challenges with Jesus by your side.

Last year I completed a three-month journey to become a runner. Spanning from August to November, little by little my endurance and strength grew until I am now able to run for half an hour. (Read more about my journey here.)

This exercising plan was about obedience. In fact, there were many (MANY) days that I didn’t want to run. It wasn’t convenient, the weather didn’t always cooperate or I wasn’t feeling that great. But, I did it anyway. God had placed this call on my life to run, and so I did. It wasn’t my desire to get in shape or lose weight or look better in my jeans that kept me running. It was a commitment to obey God no matter what. Eventually, as time went on, I realized I was actually looking forward to running.

After reaching my goal, December hit, and prioritizing the time to continue this commitment became harder than it was when I was working my way up to 30 minutes. The last two weeks of December in particular, with Christmas and New Year’s, were a complete bust.

And, now I’m back to very little desire to drive into town to run in the gym, since it’s too cold and muddy to run at our house.

Even though I don’t want to, I’m going to. I will again choose obedience, and let God work on my desire.

Each of us has an area of our life that we KNOW we need to change. Spiritually, there are way too many of us Christians who know we need to get into God’s Word everyday, spend time with Him in prayer, hide His Word in our hearts and be actively teaching our children God’s precepts (not just expecting Sunday School teachers and pastors to do it).  But, when it comes down to it, we don’t make time, we make excuses. We’re too busy. It’s not convenient. Bottom line: we choose to disobey.

I remember in college I became very convicted that I was not spending daily time with God. Oh, I knew I should be reading the Bible and praying, but it was easier to just go to church and talk a good game than actually making time to become what God wanted me to be. Finally, I picked up my Bible one morning and began to read. I actually prayed and told God that I didn’t want to be doing this and was only reading this chapter to get Him off my back. But, I kept reading one chapter each morning because I knew it was the right thing to do. Eventually it became a habit, and God began stretching my heart.

I remember opening my eyes from sleep several months later, and the first thing I felt compelled to do was grab my Bible to see what God had to say to me that day. I jumped down from my loft bed (dorm-room style), and flipped open the Word of God. As I devoured the text, I suddenly realized what God had done. He changed my heart. He gave me the desire, when I had, ever so begrudgingly, chosen to obey.

God can and will do the same for you, where He is calling you to do what He says.

Take that first step of faith, even if you don’t feel like it.

Choose to obey.

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