Eugene Peterson’s classic A Long Obedience in the Same Direction looks to the Psalms to find “… encouragement for modern pilgrims as we learn to grow in worship, service, joy, work, happiness, humility, community and blessing.”
Today is Good Friday, and I am reminded of Christ’s long obedience in the same direction. From birth to death, His obedience was unwavering. His long obedience to resist using His unimaginable power to stop the scourging he took on my behalf. His long obedience to carry a cross on His beaten back on the way to Calvary. His long obedience to remain on that cross, a cross meant for me.
So what does this have to do with my our health? Quite a bit and nothing at all.
If we are to see results and reach our fitness goals, we must be consistent and we must be patient. We must be fully committed to our nutrition and exercise plans. The road can be long, but being “obedient” to what we know we must do (rather than what we might want to do) will help us get there. And furthermore, He can help. If He is living in us, a Fruit of the Spirit is self-discipline. So as Christians, we are not powerless to our appetites. On the contrary, we have access to the One who spoke life into existence.
But ultimately, this analogy pales in comparison to what actually took place 2,000 years ago. Yes, His perseverance can serve as an example of encouragement to us in our daily pursuits, including our exercise and nutrition goals. And yes, we have an obligation to honor God with our bodies. But in the end, without spiritual obedience, our body stewardship is meaningless as it will fail to bring glory to our loving Father who sent His perfect son to die for an undeserving people, so that we might spend a heavenly eternity with Him.
So while I’ll encourage you to continue to pursue your fitness goals to the best of your ability (which includes Him operating through you), I’d encourage you to pursue your spiritual goals with an undying, unending obedience… the way Jesus pursued us.
You see, Good Friday isn’t just good, it’s quite literally heaven.