“Big Mo”:  Maintain Your Gain!

There’s a phrase very familiar with those of us who watch sports:  “big mo”.  Momentum.  It plays an important and usually uncanny role in the outcome of a game.

But you know what, momentum also plays a crucial role in the Christian life, in our daily walk with the Lord — which, as discussed in the previous post, should be a continual combination of rest and action, or in bicycling terms, of rest and “pedaling”.

In the human realm, those are opposites, but in the Christian life they are meant to work together:  we should always be “resting” in the Lord…

  • “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
  • “For we who have believed enter that rest… Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:3,11)

while we’re working for Him, while we’re serving Him and carrying out His will in our lives.

  • “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • “Watch yourselves, that you DO NOT LOSE what we have accomplished [i.e., in you, the progress you’ve made], but that you may receive a FULL reward [maintain gained ground].” (2 John 8)

As you probably know based on prior posts, a few months ago I sold my car so I could use that money to finish building this website.  But I still had to be able to get around town to run errands and such so the second half of that plan was to buy a bicycle.

I hadn’t ridden one since I was a child, since I was around 12 or 13 years old.  I loved  it then.  The exhilaration of going down a steep hill.  That rush of pure adrenaline.  And the freedom.  My oh my, the freedom.  To finally be able to go more than a mile from my house.  To the local mall to buy candy and gum and generally unhealthy fare but hey, I was a kid and therefore had the freedom to indulge in such luxuries without having to pay the price which generally doesn’t rear its head until full-on adulthood.  I was swimming  in freedom.  Drenched in freeness.  What an amazing and wonderful time of life.

But that was then and this is now so I wasn’t sure if that same relationship with bicycling had endured but was thrilled to find that I enjoy it every bit as much now as I did then.

And there have been many benefits realized in the weeks since.  I’ll elaborate on these in future posts of this journal/blog as this historic journey of becoming the first person in known human history to memorize and recite the ENTIRE BIBLE unfolds, but two so far have been (a) the fact that it allowed me to finish building this website so people can follow my progress every step of the way, learn from my past mistakes and future victories, hold me accountable and help keep me on-track to complete this monumental task, and (b) discovering that many of the thoughts and concepts which I’ll be sharing with you here first struck me while riding my bike.  (Far better that than a car or truck, eh? =)

But in this post, in this journal entry, I’d like to talk about a different benefit.

While I’ve always viewed physical fitness as being quite important in that a believer’s body is indeed a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16 — one of the great “3:16’s” of Scripture [along with John, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, 1 Peter, and 1 John … yep, I’m definitely gonna have to do a future post about this!] — and again a few Chapters later in 6:19) and have always done a decent job maintaining it, a benefit of biking versus driving these past several weeks is that I’ve actually gotten down to my high school weight.  And every time I get back from an extended (usually Saturday) bike ride I find that 5-8 pounds have been whacked from the previous night’s reading on my bathroom scale.

But after such an intense workout and the resultant hunger, I find myself sorely tempted to fill my stomach’s newfound void with a bunch of food.  And indeed, I used to indulge in such and you know what would happen?  Yep, the next morning that bathroom scale would go right back to the same reading as before.  I’d revert to the pre-exercise  weight.  Benefit lost.  (At least that  one.)  Gained ground given right back.

And it hit me that this is exactly  how it is with the Christian life, too!  How often do we read the Bible or go to church only to stumble in the following days or weeks?

I address this in the physical realm by opting for high-protein fare like seafood, chicken breast tenders or nuggets, and fat-free/cholesterol-free egg whites after said workouts; as for the spiritual realm, I’ve addressed this by embarking on this journey of memorizing entire books of the Bible.  That’s right, just like Psalm 119:11 says, Bible memory on a regular, systematic (verse-by-verse, book-by-beautiful-book) basis has kept me from losing the spiritual ground which has been gained.

In a word, MOMENTUM!  “Big Mo”.

I’ll discuss the encouragement (“carrot”) side of this coin in a moment but will start with the warning (“stick”) side with a single three-verse passage:  “For yet in a very little while, he who is coming will come, and will not delay,.  But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.  BUT we are NOT of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:37-39)

May it be so in our daily lives.  May we be so wise to choose the latter.

As for the other side of this coin, it’s important to realize that when we obey God, when we obey His Word, the Bible, we stack another gain on our pile in heaven, in our heavenly account as it were.  Think of it like an earthly bank account in that each good work, each good deed we do here on earth produces rewards or adds a “credit” to our “account” in heaven.  But similarly when we sin it’s like a “debit” to that account.

In sports lingo, doing a good deed in this life is like pushing the football another five yards down the field in the life to come.  (AND this life — 1 Timothy 4:8!)  I’m sure you get the point but of course that field is not 100 yards in length but unlimited, infinite, but otherwise this is a very good metaphor.  And what is one of the main factors which determines victory or defeat?  That’s right, which team has the momentum as the clock ticks to zero.  Who maintains  the momentum.  But when we sin, when we give in to temptation, it’s like fumbling the football.  And as we know, that’s not conducive at all to WINNING THE GAME.

Credit or debit.  Touchdown or fumble.  THE CHOICE IS OURS.  I know which I like better!  And make my decisions and choices each day accordingly.  “In such a way so as to win” as the beloved Apostle Paul would say.  And I just cannot overstate how utterly crucial and imperative it is to MAINTAIN THE MOMENTUM.

  • “… those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize… run in such a way that you may WIN.  And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest… I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
  • “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
  • “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.  So then, WHILE WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
  • Watch yourselves, that you DO NOT LOSE [fumble] what [has been] accomplished, but that you may receive a FULL reward [maintain gained ground].” (2 John 8)

Don’t be messing with your blessing.  Maintain your gain.

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