Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exercise and God

I do not like to sweat (at all).

For the majority of my life, I haven't had to exercise to stay a certain size or weight, so I haven't been overly athletic in my endeavors. As I said, I don't like to sweat (at all). Besides, unless I'm working out with someone, I find exercise to be quite boring. I might find a video I like for awhile, but then I've done it a few times and have memorized it enough that I could do the workout in my dreams. Or take the gym. I might enjoy working out on certain machines for a few days, but then they too grow boring as I listen to my music and stare at the seconds moving oh so slowly. Exercise is not a natural enjoyment for me. I truly have to commit to it and make it a discipline, or I will let weeks (months?) go by without having completed one actual workout.

As I think about it, I realize that I oftentimes don't like to sweat when it comes to my walk with Christ either. It can be pretty easy to "look the part" without putting in the effort: go to church, listen to Christian music, hang out with Christians, maybe even teach a Sunday school class. I'm finding more and more, though, that Christ did not die so that I could look the part. He did not die so that I could be comfortable.

Let's face it: when we exercise, sometimes it's not comfortable. For instance, I'm doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred right now, and there are many times during that DVD that I do not feel comfortable. In fact, there are times when I don't think I'm going to make it. I want to give up or "phone it in" as she says. But, I don't. I keep on because I have determined that I want to be in better shape, and I understand that there is work that comes with it. I cannot just sit and watch the video each night and get into shape. I have to do something.

Likewise, in our Christian walk, we cannot just idly stand by and watch someone else do the work and then grow and mature as God desires. Instead we have to "sweat." We are called to love our neighbors--every one of them. We are called to take care of widows and orphans. We are called to take care of the poor. We are called. Our calling does not involve sitting around saying, "Oh, I wish I could help, but there's just too much to be done and I'm just one person." To see change in our life (and the lives of those around us), to become more of who Christ wants us to be, we are to go and be the Church--wherever God leads us, whether it's with the single mom whose child is in the same class as your child or the man in the wheelchair who could use help getting his groceries in the car.

I can't promise it'll always be fun, but I honestly don't believe obedience is synonymous with fun. Sometimes you will likely want to quit and you may even feel the need to cry out at how hard it is....You may even sweat a little (or a lot). But, just like with a good workout, the results will come. The results will not be the same for everyone, but they will come.

So, how about it? Are you in for the workout of your life? No, not the 30 Day Shred--the ride of a lifetime that God has in store for you. It might be tough, but I promise you won't regret it.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14