Have you ever stayed in a hotel and while investigating the amenities walked past the fitness room? Glancing in you can see people “working out” on all the latest high-tech equipment for cardio fitness and strength training. So much activity it almost makes you sweat just watching. If you are brave enough to go in, you will find stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, stair climbers, free weights, weight machines and resistance equipment. All for the purpose of “getting in shape” physically. Personally, I would exercise more, but it makes me spill my coffee!
One type of workout machine I’m particularly fascinated with are the new treadmills. Computerized programs simulate different levels of resistance, going uphill, downhill, even running in some virtual locations around the world. And it’s amazing how people multitask on those things. People listen to music, check emails, read books, watch TV, talk on the phone, conduct business, make stock transactions, all while getting their daily work out! People walking or running, but never “going” anywhere! Proving the adage, “It is possible to have motion without progress.”
Sadly, this has become the characteristic of many in their Christian life. Multitudes are running on the treadmill of religious activities, at a variety of levels, but going nowhere. We must not forget it is possible for someone to attend church all their lives and miss the true blessings God has for them. Believers may listen to sermon after sermon, attend midweek prayer service, and participate in the “work” of the church, yet be no closer to God or stronger in their faith. They may have all the right “equipment” to get them spiritually fit, but they have failed to follow the training manual and have no clear end toward which they are striving. A person may be led to believe they are making spiritual progress when all they are really doing is riding the religious merry-go-round wasting time and energy. It has become an exercise in futility.
God has a purpose for every believer. He has a goal for each one of us to reach. And He doesn’t want us to waste the life He has given us running on a religious treadmill. His ultimate plan is for us to “be conformed to the image of His son” (Romans 8:29). And He has given us everything we need to accomplish it. “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4). The Lord gives each of us the opportunity to follow the course He has laid out for us. The apostle Paul clearly understood the importance of this. “I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air” (1Cor. 9:26). Every day we miss seeking His purpose is a day wasted on the treadmill of life. “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Eph. 5:15-17). Let’s get off the treadmill so we may end up at the destination He wants for His glory.