My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. and as usual I glanced at the clock and closed my eyes again. Tired and dreading having to get up to exercise was the first thought to cross my mind. I had heard a sermon years ago in which the pastor said that if you’re trying to do the right things in your life, do the hardest thing first. So for me, it’s exercise. I’ve tried many techniques to get myself motivated to do it. Even the Lord once told me, personally, to exercise and that alone motivated me for a while, but I got settled into a pattern again and wasn’t consistent. It’s hard to be disciplined in an area that isn’t something you truly enjoy doing.
The Lord called me to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and with that comes the learning and application of discipline to my life. It’s never easy to be disciplined. Some things are easier because they bring you joy or peace but other things are more difficult to master and you drudge your way through them. Gosh! I hate to say that about something that you know is good and right and true and that God sees as honorable for our lives, but honestly, I have a really hard time with the issue of exercise. It is an area of the disciplined Christian life that I continually have to ask for God’s help in mastering it and applying to my life.
My husband, on the other hand, has no problem in this area. This is something that comes much easier for him. He’s been an athlete since he was young and learned to be disciplined and goal focused and still works out just about every day. He tries to encourage me and I appreciate his efforts, but it’s easier said than done when this isn’t your strength area.
So here I was exercising along with my husband and my dog on a dark, cold April morning. As usual, my husband takes the dog and runs ahead of me and I walk, which is more my pace. I use this time to talk to the Lord about the things that are on my mind or just worship him and thank him for the beauty I see all around me.
On this particular morning I just began to think about the upcoming royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. It was a couple of weeks before the wedding and all the tv stations were going nuts about Kate’s dress and how no one would be able to see it before the wedding. The preparations were being made and I would see news clips of Kate running her errands going to and fro getting things done before the big day. She was a somewhat ordinary middle-class girl who was marrying a prince which is what made their wedding like a cinderella story.
I began to think about how Kate’s life would change once she took that vow before God and said, “I do” to Prince William. It would be more than just getting married, it would be getting married to a royal prince! This would become a monumental change for Kate’s life and mean that her whole life would no longer be in her own control. She would be, as she’d already experienced, under the scrutiny and eye of the public at all times and be expected to adhere to royal protocol for the rest of her life. Not an easy task and not an easy life she was about to enter into.
Then the Lord brought to my attention that I was just like Kate. The moment I said, “I do” to Jesus and asked him to be the LORD of my life, I had taken a vow before my Father to honor him and serve him and love him with all of my life and all that I am. My life was no longer my own, it was Christ’s alone. I was no longer free to live my life any way I pleased or according to the way the rest of the world functions. God had called me to a higher standard of living. And just like Kate, who will not feel like doing things she’s required to do on a daily basis, I too, must rise up to a higher standard of living and live in such a way that is obedient to God’s word.
Just like Kate, I was royalty. Not a royal of the British Kingdom but a royal of the Kingdom of God. I am to walk in the Kingdom of Light not in the Kingdom of Darkness. I am an heir to the throne of God. This makes me divine royalty which is an even higher calling than what Kate has now entered into. I needed to have a paradigm shift in my thinking about my identity as a child of God and who I had become the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. God was reminding me that morning about who I am in Him.
Romans 8: 14-17 says: “14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” (NLT)
That morning on my walk the Spirit of God realigned my thinking so that I would see this discipline not as something to be dreaded, but as a divine, daily duty as a child of God. I should walk with my head held high, with a bounce in my step, and with a sharpened focus in my mind. No longer will I drag myself out of bed, drudging forth to do my duty with a “ball and chain” dragging behind me. But I will be getting up each day walking in the light of Christ and in the knowledge of his understanding for my life. Of course this applies to all other areas of my life, for sure, but on this day the Spirit of God helped bring the weakest area of discipline in my life to a greater place of obedience.
I have to tell you too, that the very next day I went to the mall and bought a tiara. Not one of those cheapo plastic dollar store tiaras, but a nice one! It’s not made of real diamonds but just looks like it. I bought it to sit on my night stand next to my bed as a reminder each morning of who I am in Christ. When I wake up I see that crown and get up much happier than in days of the past. One day I will receive a glorious crown – maybe covered in diamonds or in some kind of precious jewels unknown to man. But in the meantime, I have to run this race here on earth to be eligible to receive the crown of a true child of the King of all kings and LORD of all lords.
One last note: On April 29th, 2011, as I sat and ate my breakfast, I quickly turned on the tv, then jumped up and ran to my bedroom, grabbed my tiara, placed it on my mussed-up hair and watched the highlights of the royal wedding in my bathrobe – oh yeah…in royal style!