I like to be comfortable. That’s why when a day is over the first thing I do is put on my pajamas and make a cup of coffee.
Knowing that I have the time to sit back, relax, and watch a couple episodes of my favorite show on Netflix is a great feeling. But it is also paralyzing.
There are many days where after a long few hours of studying or being in town, all I want to do is light and candle and down a mug full of coffee, but I know this isn’t the most productive option.
Sure, it’s the easiest choice, the one that requires the least amount of effort on my part, but it’s not progressing me.
Tonight I struggled with the excuse of not going to the gym because the weather was bad, I wanted more coffee, and I didn’t feel like it.
Seriously, for at least an hour I was back and forth, back forth.
Yes, I’ll go.
No, I don’t think I will.
Man, I really should go.
But baby it’s cold outside.
And so on.
I’m not saying changing out of my pajamas and into active-wear was easy. The whole time I was lacing up my shoes or pulling up my hair my mind was doing everything in its power to convince me not to leave the warmth and pleasure of my room.
I didn’t feel any better about my decision when I was forced to walk through the freezing wind to the gym across campus. Or when I got on the elliptical and had to push myself.
But then, as I began to wake up to the gym and regain my energy I was thankful I had come. The trip to the gym no longer seemed like such a burden. In fact, I even felt like it was a blessing, a time to get out and clear my mind through exercise.
It was tough, but it was so worth it.
In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul tells the church at Philippi
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it [the perfection of his faith] yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What I want us to remember is that Paul had suffered a great many different trials, and he was not exhorting the church from a place of inexperience. He had suffered himself, he had endured the shame and the difficulties. He knew what it was to have much and what it was to have little.
But he continued to choose Christ.
Choosing Christ isn’t our natural instinct. While we are conditioned to seek the comfort of a Comforter, our fallen and sinful nature substitutes the peace of Christ for the safety of complacency.
In Matthew 16:24 Jesus told His disciples to pick up their crosses and follow Him. Carrying the cross isn’t easy. It forces us to step out of what our flesh desires, to leave behind what is easiest to choose Him who is best.
Making the decision to follow Jesus isn’t a one-time deal. It’s not an “I said the prayer, so I’m good” kind of deal. It’s a day-to-day, moment-by-moment decision to die to yourself and live in the fullness of Christ.
Choosing Jesus requires strength and perseverance, but with the unprecedented, unparalleled prize of Christ at the finish line and on the way there.