The first five minutes are the most important. I pondered this idea while working on an elliptical this week. My biggest battle with cardio has always been the first five minutes. It’s the hardest for me and the period of time I’m most tempted to quit. I hate the first five minutes! My feet hurt, my legs are heavy, I second guess my routine, and I typically fumble for a stride. I come up with all types of excuses to quit, stop, and move onto something else. It’s a huge temptation to give up – at least for the day. But, did you know that I’m good for the duration if I can just get past the first five minutes? Once I’ve hit my stride, I’m in for the workout. During the first five minutes when I’m tempted the most to quit, I must remind myself why I’m doing this – health, exercise, and well being. These rehearsed reminders allow me to think about the benefits rather than the negatives. It’s what I do to convince myself this is good, right, and appropriate.
Believe it or not, I sort of equate this process with all temptation. The first five minutes are the most important. When faced with temptation to give in, act out, or to behave badly, we must change the way we think in order to combat the unhealthy temptation. Before the point of temptation, determine not to entertain the destructive thoughts. Change your thought pattern and begin to consider noble and right thoughts. Consider Paul’s admonishment in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Take charge of your own thoughts and don’t let temptation think for you. And then there’s this encouragement in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” If entertaining temptation’s thoughts is wrong thinking, change what you’re thinking about. Quit considering the temptation and begin thinking a new way. When it comes to temptation, our biggest challenge is often found in the first five minutes. What you do with those minutes determine the course of your actions. The more you ponder tempting thoughts, the more likely you are to act on them. You have the choice to give in or to overcome! When tempted, take your thoughts back. Capture each thought and make it obedient to Christ. Then begin to concentrate upon more noble, right, pure, and admirable ideas. Remember, it all comes down to the first five minutes – they’re your thoughts and your future. Choose and think wisely.