Archive for June, 2012

Heart Rehab

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

You’ve patiently endured my whining about my landmark heart stent and prolific cheeseburgers that caused it. The recovery is going well. The hardest part is applying the surgeon’s mantra, “If it tastes good, don’t eat it.”

I’ve started heart rehabilitation. I’m thinking military boot camp all over again. Once again, my focus is on obstacle courses (moving treadmills) and endurance exercises (bicycles that go nowhere).

Let me introduce you to our drill sergeant. Caring and knowledgeable, she is a vigorous vanguard of heart monitors, glucose finger sticks, and blood pressure readings. I will say this: my basic training constant companion wasn’t anything like the positive cheerleader Janice is. But while she doesn’t step up nose to nose and bark in our face, her regular motivational word to her troops is, “I love it when you sweat.” Her favorite Bible verse must be, “For the moment all discipline seems painful…”

I see some comparisons and contrasts to life with Christ. Initially, God is not a drill sergeant! He is the faithful guide we need. In the disciplines and corrections of Christian life, He is our Father who loves us so deeply He provides real pathways to become like His Son. Toward this, Hebrews notes, “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? Can we call Janice, Sarge?

Next, the cost of neglect is painful. When our blood pressure readings are high and one of us grins and says the chicken livers were really good last night, Janice grimaces. How much more when we neglect our life with Christ?! An hour is unhealthy; days and months build up dangerous plaque that restrict the flow of life-giving fellowship with the One who made us.

Then, consider the joy of simple successes. I already feel better. I feel stronger and more energetic. I want more of this elixir of fresh life. Janice said it wouldn’t take long to look forward to the exercises. Now I can stay up longer, and even endure a cooking show with my wife…

Life with Christ is like heart rehab. At its core it is a whole-life response to the One who died for us and offers to draw near. We were made for this!

I heard a sports commentator suggest if there’s a breakdown in a team, it’s not about talent. It’s about alignment and assignment. After the call in the huddle, he said, it’s about discipline and the fundamentals.

In the forty two years since boot camp, I’ve settled on the sofa, and neglected physical training and discipline. Lord, help me to not miss this new opportunity to get in spiritual shape, too.

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