Withered Heart

“And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.”

1 Kings 13:6

I can think of the many times of my life when I desired to lose some pounds. It could be from when I was a teenager and put on some weight over the summer months or when I was in my early twenties and just grossly out of shape. The older I get, the harder it is to lose weight and there are times when it seems nearly impossible. The battle of the bulge has always been the hardest battle for me since I hit the fifth grade, and I have struggled off and on since then. I envy those who can eat whatever they want, but I simply was not created this way. I look at pictures of my youth, and I wonder what happened to that little skinny kid. I love to exercise, but I also love to eat as some can attest to. I know I must watch what I eat as I grow older, and I am learning the importance of what I put in my mouth.

I was around 21 when I met an older gentleman who worked with my sister. He was in his sixties and he loved to work out. He had created a little gym in his basement which included some free weights and flat benches that were used for various exercises. He had a situp chair which I would come to hate, and he also had a decent stereo system. My sister introduced me to him, and he looked me up and down as if I was a worthless maggot. He seemed to be disgusted at my appearance, and he was eager to weigh me to tell me how out of shape I was. I tipped the scales at 238, and he shook his head in disgust and told me to take a seat. He advised me of the changes I needed to make, but he said I was worth taking a chance on. I was not sure whether to be offended by his comments or to be grateful for his training and expertise. He told me to be ready to work out the following day, and he could not wait to put me through the ringer.

I showed up just as I was told, and boy, did he put me through the Arnold “pump you up” routine. He said this is what he did as a routine and we completed several rounds of this intense exercise. I was so exhausted but I kept up to prove a point, although everything inside of me wanted to quit. He worked so hard that he fell fast asleep on the bench attempting to finish out some last reps. I knew he was putting me on and doing more than he usually does, but I was grateful for his time and I turned off the light behind me and told his wife he was fast asleep. I could barely move the following day, but I showed up at his house again and he walked as if he was in a body cast. We were both spent, but too proud to not fight through the pain. I eventually went to his house several times a week to workout with him, and I would even go when he was out of town. We became great friends and in about six months, I was down to 178 and in the best shape of my life. I admired him in many ways, and I learned a lot from the things he told me. He was proud of me like a father who is proud of his son, and he introduced me to others as such. Although I got into the best shape of my life, I was missing a key ingredient.

I think back to that time, and I was so concerned with my physical appearance but not so much with my spiritual appearance. I spent less than one percent of my time thinking of God or reading His word. I became concerned with that which will pass away and neglected that which will endure for all eternity. I think of all the times in my life when I worried about my physical appearance way more than I have thought about my walk with God. If I put all that effort into my spiritual walk with God, I might have been carried away in a chariot at this point.

Jeroboam was more interested in the withering of his hand than he was with his spiritual condition. He was caught in the act of burning incense to a false god, and he tried to rebuke the prophet that God had sent only to find the hand he laid on the prophet soon withered away. He did not think as to why his hand withered, but was merely concerned with having it restored. He did not cry out to God to repent of his disregard for God’s law, but he was only concerned with his physical condition. He asked the man of God to intreat God for his hand’s sake and not for his soul’s sake. He thought the physical to be more important, and if he did not repent, he is forever in torment regretting his decision.

Where are you today friend? Are you more concerned with your physical appearance than your spiritual condition? Do you worry about your waistline but give little attention to the things of God? What do you spend your time on? May we not waste our life being concerned with the things which will soon pass away, but may we be focused on that which will never perish. There is nothing wrong with being a good steward of the body God has given you, but even more so we should be a good steward of the spiritual life He has given you. May we place more value on our withered heart over our withered hand, and may we desire to be in the best spiritual shape we can be.

Stay in the Fight!

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