Then foot injuries with the corrective surgeries that followed slowed me down to a walk, and now a chronic illness brings along with it activity restrictions—no exertion, no lifting, no bending over among others. Suddenly jogging and heavy exercise is a thing of the past, but it wasn’t my fault. I was doing the best I could. Yes, but…
You can look at me and see the results. It’s pretty obvious. Returning from one of the many surgeries I have had, I walked into the ladies room and nearly ran over a sixty-something lady with gray hair, all bent over as if the weight of the world were on her. “Excuse me, ma’am,” I said, then nearly fainted when I realized it was a mirror and I was talking to myself. At that point I was barely over fifty.
But it didn’t happen overnight. Gradually I had to cut back on the exercise time and gradually the weight piled back on. Gradually the nearly constant pain put lines in my face and grayed my hair. Suddenly, I am not only back where I thought I would never be again, but even worse.
When my problem became apparent, we looked around for a way to fix it. I now have an elliptical machine in the middle of my kitchen. I can set the resistance to something my body can handle without harm, and there is no danger of stepping in a hole or tripping over a limb or vine when I “walk,” as often happens these days. It isn’t quite the same thing, but it is far better than sitting in a chair all day. My fitness, which will never again be like it was during those years of jogging, is increasing, probably less than one fencepost at a time, but increasing nevertheless.
Losing your spiritual fitness happens the same way. It can start when you are suddenly satisfied with your progress and think you have arrived. You can think that while still saying the words I have heard out of so many mouths, “I know I am not perfect.” It isn’t just Satan who excels at fooling us.
The Hebrew writer reminds us, We must pay closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it, Heb 2:1. You can wander back one fencepost down the road and still see your way back pretty easily. But one fencepost will lead to another and another until you have rounded a curve and the goal is no longer in sight. When you can’t see it, it seems much farther away than it really is, and that’s when you give up—that’s when you say, “Might as well go a little further. It can’t be any worse.”
Yes, it can. You can get caught back there, time ending on a day when you meant to turn around and head back where you belonged, but suddenly it’s too late. God won’t reset the clock for us either. So turn back now, while you still can. Just go one fencepost at a time and you will soon be back around that corner within sight of the goal, making progress perhaps not as quickly as you would like, but in the right direction, which is all that really counts in the end.
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isa 55:6-7