Go to Gethsemane & Calvary
I enjoy playing basketball several times a week in the early morning hours at the Y. It's difficult for me to get motivated to run just for the sake of running, but competition has always been a great motivator for me. I play hard (full-court with usually 3 or 4 men on a team) for about an hour and get back home a little after 7 AM usually. I enjoy this sort of exercise, and know a cardio workout like this is good for me. But, sometimes my body complains about it the next morning. After the night's rest, I roll out of bed and am sometimes greeted with feelings of stiffness or sluggishness from the prior day's exercise. Sometimes there is a temptation to go back to bed and sleep instead of going to play ball. But, my mind is committed to going even when my body is somewhat resistant. After I get moving a bit, my body loosens up and any stiffness or sluggishness fades away after a few minutes of running up and down the court. My mind's desire wins over my body's resistance to get up early and go.

Friends, this is how we need to approach our spiritual lives also. The Christian life is a daily walk. Some days we may feel better than others. We may be more energized in our faith or excited about being a disciple of Jesus one day than we are the next, for a number of reasons. At times, life is difficult, even for a faithful follower of the Lord. Sometimes the only thing that will keep us headed in the right direction (saying "no" to the path of sin and "yes" to the way of righteousness) is a resolute mind that simply refuses to quit or go any other way than God's way--even when it hurts and even when it'd be so much easier to go the way of the world.

And how can we remain steadfast and unyielding in faith? An excellent answer to this inquiry is seen in the lyrics John R. Wreford wrote in 1837:

When my love to Christ grows weak, when for deeper faith I seek,
Then in tho't I go to thee, Garden of Gethsemane!

There I walk amid the shades, while the lingering twilight fades,
See that suffering, friendless One, weeping, praying there alone.

When my love for man grows weak, when for stronger faith I seek,
Hill of Calvary! I go to thy scenes of fear and woe.

There behold His agony, suffered on the bitter tree;
See His anguish, see His faith--love triumphant still in death.

Then to life I turn again, learning all the worth of pain,
Learning all the might that lies in a full self-sacrifice.

What better way is there to refresh our attitudes and strengthen our resolve for the Lord than to go, in spirit, to Gethsemane and Calvary? The picture painted in Matthew 26 & 27 of the events that unfolded at these two locations nearly 2000 years ago is incredible. Jesus suffered tremendously, voluntarily, on our behalf. He agonized in the garden as His hour approached, not wanting to die but knowing it was the Father's will that mankind be redeemed through His shed blood at Calvary. He lived a sacrificial life to accomplish God's will--and so must we. Calling to our remembrance these facts and the vivid picture of our Lord's sacrifice for us ought to strengthen weak hearts, correct poor attitudes of selfishness, and reignite waning commitment.

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of the faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1,2). May we all go regularly to Gethsemane and Calvary!