The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God. Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.'” – Leviticus 19:2-4 NIV
Many of the examples we have in life, many times a parent or caregiver, give us a barometer by which to live our lives. We try to emulate them in their example, good and bad. God, in Leviticus, gives us a very detailed blueprint, written hundreds of years before Christ. It is a great starting point. When we refer back to the blueprint often, it is much more difficult to veer off course. When we are gifted quiet time, we are given us a tremendous opportunity to see how we want to observe the Sabbath, free of many of the distractions to see how we really want it to be. In uninterrupted family time, we see how to better respect our parents and children. Where else do I need to get back to this blueprint that gives us freedom, not limitations, as we live according to His Word?
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:4-6 NIV
So much is focused on the first part of this Psalm with the Lord as our shepherd. He has complete confidence in His protection over us, preparing our table and caring for us no matter the surrounding battle that rages. What imagery the darkest valley is, far away from anyone else, not knowing what is around the next corner. Even the smallest light the Lord can give us, dispels that darkness.
Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Psalm 24:8
How much more seeming defeat can one have but through the Passion? Jesus still shows His strength. He has won the victory and has risen in Easter joy. There are so many cinematic and artistic depictions of the Resurrection and each one shows this might and strength in different ways. Some levitating, some fully restored while still physically with the remnants of wounds. What does Jesus’ strength look like for me now?
I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire! So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. – Ecclesiastes 2:8-11 NIV
Certainly hard work is virtuous and necessary. Doing it for earthly purposes, though, has to stay in perspective. It truly is like chasing the wind. A great perspective check in 13 minutes, this is a tremendous reflection on this topic during a tough time in the world. I can’t help but think sometimes the Lord slows us down intentionally from the “treadmill” of achievement to be still and know He is God.
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
-1 Tim 4:8,16
Spiritual and physical fitness are both essential, staying as healthy as we can to do God’s work. Let this week be a time of building discipline in both. Training is gradually building and strengthening. We can’t run a marathon without briskly walking then jogging short distances. There is tremendous encouragement from accountability. Is now the time to increase my accountability…to myself or with someone else’s help?
Dear Lord, Thank you for the blueprint by which to build my life in You. There is tremendous peace in Your goodness and love. I celebrate Your Resurrection and victory in strength. Help me to build my physical and spiritual fitness to better serve Your kingdom here on Earth. Focus my efforts on where You want me to be today, this week, this month, this year. I love you. Amen.