“You have said, ‘Seek My face’…” Psalm 27:8a (ESV)
The funny thing is that we tend to seek God’s face only when we are in a casual, relaxed place — when we have lots of time & little pressure bearing down on us. It’s then that we seem to find the space to be with God and know Him just for His own sake.
At least that has been true for me.
But one of the things that I hope I can carry out of my gym time is the discipline to seek God’s face when I’m tired and stressed … or when something challenging is pressing upon me.
There’s a temptation to turn away from God when we are exhausted or stressed. Or, if we do turn to Him, to turn only to seek His help. When under pressure, we tend only to seek God’s hand. Rarely in our exhausted and overwhelmed places do we turn to God just to seek His face. (Or at least that’s the way it has been with me). But the truth is that His face is what I really need in those moments, not His hand.
What I really need when I am exhausted and overwhelmed is to know Who God is and what He is like … and to rest in Him.
So as I seek His face in the gym … while I’m tired and sore, pushing heavy resistance and completing long runs … I am praying that I am also training my heart and my mind to seek His face when I’m tired and overwhelmed in other aspects of my life.
“Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8b (NIV)
One of my favorite things to do when working with clients, is to help them remember why we do the things that we do. It’s so rewarding to bring people back to the fount of their motivation & their heart’s desire. It’s also such an honor to be able to help people shape their motivating force. To point them to Jesus, and encourage them to seek His face.
Because in the exercise and fitness world, God’s face isn’t always so obvious. People exercise and work out for many reasons, some of which revolve around vanity and other worldly pursuits.
But we exercise to honor God. We exercise to thank God for the bodies He has given us and to steward them well. And while we work out, we seek His face.
Seeking God’s face is wholly different than seeking God’s hand. Seeking God’s hand is easy. We do it all the time. We ask for His helping hand, His wisdom, His strength — we ask for His intercession on our behalf. But when we seek His face, we seek simply to be in His presence. We seek to see Him more clearly as He is, and to absorb more of Him. That’s all.
When I go to the gym, I am submitting my body to the work it needs. But when I go, I also submit the rest of me to the Lord — to seek His face, to hear His voice, to gaze at the only One who can really heal & change & grow me.
And I trust that … just as Moses’ face shown brightly after he met with the Lord on Mount Sinai (see Exodus 34:29) … all of me might shine a little brighter for His glory with my workout is done.
“But don’t begin until you count the cost ….”. Luke 14:28a (NLT)
Goals. Have you ever set a goal for yourself and then backed away from it? Maybe it was about running a race, or maybe it was about starting a new dietary regime, or maybe it was about developing a new habit or quitting an old one. You were excited when you started, but somewhere along the way it got more difficult than you realized it would. You failed to count the cost. You failed to count it accurately. I do it too sometimes.
Some goals do not have a very high cost. Others do. And usually the bigger goals — the higher goals — have a higher cost.
But the best things are worth it, aren’t they?
As I sit on the eve of one of the highest goals I have ever dreamed — one of the biggest assignments God has ever given me — I am soberly counting the cost. Extremely grateful to have the chance, but not wanting to arrive at midpoint, realizing that I failed to count the cost accurately. There are things I have to die to … and things I will have to carry … to do this journey well. Am I really willing? Really? For the long haul?
As a follower of Jesus, I look to Him as my example. He had the highest goal of all — to redeem and save mankind. He also paid the highest price. And for Him, it was worth it.
Am I willing? Yes.
Am I scared? Yes.
And having counted the cost to the best of my ability, I claim and cling to the truth of Philippians 4:13, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And so can you.