You've likely heard the story of the talented sculptor that when asked the secret to his masterpiece replied in so many words, "I just chip away what doesn't belong." He saw the final product in his mind and removed everything else.
Tozer once wrote, "God created man for Himself, to have sweet, intimate fellowship with Him on a daily, growing basis. When He looks at man through the cross, He sees what nobody else can see. He sees Christ. Everything that does not belong there - everything that is not Christ - God, in no hurry whatsoever, takes the initiative to interrupt our lives and begins to remove it."
And so, here we are. Lives interrupted, training stalled, goals postponed; a few days into the new year and the beginning of a new week. Many of us have replaced our time in physical training with that of spiritual training. In fact, on Friday I encouraged us to read Colossians and Hebrews. Why those books?
In Colossians, Paul writes to restore Jesus to the center of life. The people in Colossae had allowed other things in life to receive equal billing to that of Christ. And Paul wrote Colossians to restore balance. In other words, if something is "in balance" with Christ, it's out of balance. (Think, "faith & fitness" in our case.)
And of Hebrews, Biblical scholar Eugene Peterson says, "Hebrews urges that it's never Jesus - and - anything. It's not Jesus - and - angels, or Jesus - and - Moses, or Jesus - and - the priesthood. Hebrews deletes the hyphens and removes the add-ons. The focus becomes clear again. God's work in Jesus Christ."
Hence, the challenge to read those two books.
Does 10 days away from the gym seem too much too bear? Feel a little unfair? A bit too extreme? Tozer says, "What if a master sculptor was working on a piece of granite, and the granite objected to the many chips falling to the floor. The granite feels that the Master has gone too far. That kind of thinking would be incomprehensible. So be assured the Master Craftsman knows exactly what He's doing. His primary intention is for you to "go on unto perfection" (Heb 6:1). And he'll stop short of nothing to accomplish this end. He'll interrupt your life without asking your permission."
Chip away, Lord. In us, we want You to see only You. Anything about our lives, our minds, our motives, our values, our goals that doesn't reflect Your glory, Your perfection, Your desire for our lives, please remove it. If gaining a clearer view of Your will and louder sound of Your voice means a loss of health, muscle or any other physical, measurable outcome of an activity that You have given us to enjoy, so be it. Chip away. Not a trace. Take it all.
For Discussion: What in your life and mine needs to be chipped away? I have so much. With training on the back-burner a few days, what is God revealing to you and me about our hearts? Is there anything during the time in His word and on your knees that He's revealing to you? If so, please share in the comments below or if you'd rather say, "Unspoken" we'll pray with you by name. I'll start. "Unspoken." Anyone resting in the Lord this week?
Challenge: In the hour you would normally spend in the gym or on the road or in pool, read Nehemiah 1-6.