Saturday, April 18, 2009

Amazing Love

I took my Navy physical fitness test yesterday and did well—better than I thought I would. I did so well, in fact, that I suspect the course we ran was short of the prescribed 1.5 miles, since I was only fifteen seconds off my best-ever time and all the other runners said their times were better than they expected too. Whether or not the course was short, I came in only five seconds behind the fastest runner. (Did I ever mention how competitive I can be?) He and I ran the whole way together, but at the end of the course I started sprinting. Unfortunately, I took off too soon (because the test proctors were lollygagging thirty yards short of the real finish line) and the other guy passed me just before the end.  

Marines snicker at the Navy’s wimpy one-and-a-half miler. They run three miles for their PFT. There’s a whole different attitude about physical fitness in the Marine Corps (where it’s considered essential) and the Navy (where it’s nice but not necessary). Before Marines take their test they always ask how many sit-ups and pull-ups they need to do and how fast they need to run in order to “max out.” In other words, they’re aiming for a perfect score. Sailors typically ask a different question: “What’s the minimum I need to do to past this #!@& thing?”

Believers can also be sorted into two categories. There are those who are just looking to do the minimum to get by in their spiritual lives and those who are “going all out” for God. Funny thing is God loves both groups the same. My perfectionism fights against it, but it’s true. God loves me when I’m living right, and he loves me just as much when I’m messing up. If anything, his love is stronger when I am weak and need him more. I don’t know why sometimes I have such a hard time believing in God’s unconditional love. Maybe it’s because my love, even at its altruistic best, is still conditional.  

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