I went to Planet Fitness today to work out my back, since it was sore. The place was massively crowded with the folks who made New Year resolutions. A few of them were young ladies in tight outfits. I say a few because at least half were people out of shape or old like me. Can you guess which exercisers caught my eye the most?
This is an embarrassing thing to discuss. Even to a piece of paper.
There are two camps here.
1. Men are like that; it's natural.
2. The Lord does not like even a hint of lust.
I know the truth. It's been a message He's been trying to get thru to me since I was in my mid 20's. I know the truth. It's been the one area where I've only progressed to a certain point and still hold out from the Lord.
After looking, then refusing to look, looking, then refusing to look, I closed my eyes. Wanted to resist. I filled my mental space with prayer for friends, relatives, co-workers who have hard situations. Prayed for one person quickly then another. Started to relax. Prayed for Jill (a co-worker who has a bad cancer). I felt like I was being urged to continue the prayer for her and not jump quickly to someone else. No reason given. So I did. With every push or pull of the weight on any of the weight machines, I'd say something simple like "For Jill". Kept that up, with slight variations for about 10 minutes. Longer than I normally pray for any one topic.
I wondered to myself, "Lord, I don't question your way, but I am curious. Since you can do anything you want with or without human intervention, why ask us to pray for others?"
Once again, the grace of understanding seemed to come. I wish I could remember the exact words, since it's always so simple and efficient and loving. But it was something like this: "God is Love. To be a part of the Kingdom of God, you must Love. Prayer is a form of love. You are making a contribution to building the Kingdom when you pray for others. You are displacing selfishness with selflessness. If you catch sight of a woman doing jumping jacks and see her clothed breasts moving, don't have a selfish thought that pleases only yourself. Replace it with a loving thought with no lust. Pray that those breasts will nurse a healthy baby some day. That is their function. If the breasts are on an older woman, pray that those breasts will never experience cancer. It's not the sight of a moving breast that is wrong; it is what you think about that is selfish or loving. "
"The more than you can replace thoughts and actions with loving ones, the more you follow the commandment 'you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind.' "
"As you approach dedicating all thoughts and actions to love, you will hear more clearly from Me."
For the rest of the workout, I was highly motivated to do as I heard.
I went home feeling limber and consoled. When I got home, since my wife and daughter had already eaten, I made some food and broke open the Bible to wherever it opened. It opened to Luke 10:13, 'reproaches to unrepentant towns'. Funny, I thought. Didn't I repent in the last 30 minutes? (and of course, for the 1000th time I'm sure over 30 years). A few verses later, in Luke 10:27, are the words
'you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind.'
It was a confirmation that this ... all this... is very real. More real than my car, the Planet Fitness, the table, my food, my job. It felt like I was on the border of a different world and wanted more. We can be spoken to and guided by our maker; any of us. We just need to make time for Him in our thoughts and actions. It's experiences like this that explain why I'm a believer.