Have you ever felt like you were in a serious rut? I was in a rut as far as exercising and taking care of myself. I had gotten to a point where I couldn’t even remember what it was like to be fit, and the task of getting fit again seemed daunting and out of reach. Somehow I managed to overcome the biggest barrier – getting started – and began exercising in the fall of 2005. I started by running for twenty minutes two or three times per week. The first few weeks it was a lot of work to get out there. Thankfully my four-year-old son started joining me on his bicycle and provided the extra nudge when I needed it most. I managed to keep running through the winter and summer. I am now running for thirty minutes five days a week. I have lost about fifteen to twenty pounds, and my overall energy level has increased dramatically. I still have a long way to go but feel good about the progress.
As I read the readings for today, I couldn’t help but think how important it is to make sure our spiritual life doesn’t get stuck in a rut, and in some ways I feel like mine is. The passage from Isaiah warns that there is more to serving God than just going to church and observing rituals. Following God must be a lifestyle, which reflects genuine love for others in the way that God loves us. Anything less than this is considered hypocritical. Jesus exposes this kind of hypocrisy to the religious leaders in Luke.
The best way to get out of a spiritual rut is by getting started! A good place to start is by meditating on the truth of God and how it applies to your life as the psalms indicate. At first it may seem difficult, and perhaps having a friend or even this Advent devotional can help provide that extra nudge when you need it. Remember spiritual growth, just like becoming fit, takes time. The psalmist says that the tree will bear fruit in its season, perhaps not right away. We have to be patient and continue to maintain an honest and pure heart as well as commit ourselves to doing what is right. The end result will lead to a future beyond what we can presently envision.
- Charlie Biegel