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Why am I doing this?

January 19, 2012

You won’t necessarily know this but about once or twice a week I try to attend a local gym with my good friends Ben and Dean. Due to the busyness of my day to day life the only time that really makes sense for me to go to the gym is at half 6 in the morning – that way I can get the session done and not have it impinge too much on the rest of my day – meaning I can spend time with my family when I get home from work. The only problem is that going to the gym is already hard enough work – but doing it at that hour of the day just seems like I’m climbing a mountain every morning.

You may well be reading this and thinking to yourself – ‘for goodness sake – stop being so melodramatic!’ and you’re quite right, compared to a lot of people this is really no big deal.

However it was during a gym session this morning that I was reminded of the term ‘no pain no gain!’ It sort of dawned on me that I really don’t enjoy going to the gym – especially at that time. And I found myself asking the question – why am I doing this? Furthermore, why am I spending my hard-earned cash for the privilege?

Very often in life I think it’s helpful to stop and ask ourselves that question – ‘why am I doing this?’ I think asking ourselves this question will help us in three big ways.

First of all it will help us separate the wheat from the chaff. It will help us identify those time consuming activities in our lives that are actually worthwhile and help us cut out the things in our lives that are nothing more than a parasite – they suck up our time, energy and money with no real benefit to us.

Secondly it will help prevent us from trekking the track of traditionalism. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of tradition here and there, but is it really beneficial to us if we’ve forgotten why we do it in the first place? Unfortunately a lot of modern day church activity has its roots in traditionalism, traditions that achieve nothing and no longer mean anything.

Thirdly, and most importantly, it will help us to persevere. As I ask myself every time I’m struggling through an early morning gym session ‘why am I doing this’ I am reminded of the reason; ‘because I have a target.’ I don’t want to get up early and do cardio but I want to keep fit for my son, I don’t want to get up and work out but I want to look good for my wife. This principle should exist in every context of hard work. As an employee I put in the work because I want to be successful in my job, as a father I put in the work because I want to raise my son well, as a husband I put in the work because I want to please my wife and I want my marriage to last.

This sort of thinking is helpful for us, it does us good to long after a prize – it motivates us to work hard and to run the race well.

This should be the same in my walk with God. I don’t always enjoy getting up to read my bible and to discipline myself to pray (although often I do), but the main reason is because I want intimacy with my God.

Just to finish, let’s remember the hero of perseverance. Whilst Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, hours away from hanging on the cross in our place, he must have asked himself this question – ‘why am I doing this?’ of course the bible tells us the answer:

“… for the joy that was set before him (Jesus) endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12 v 2

Jesus had a target – He came to seek and save the lost, He came to win for Himself His bride.

What are your targets in life?

Let me encourage you to ask yourselves regularly ‘Why am I doing this?’

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2 Comments
  1. Mike keeping permalink

    No cross, no crown…..

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