I was talking with a fellow gym-buddy about getting in shape, losing weight, getting healthier and as we were sweating up a storm, pounding away on our elliptical machines, we both wished for an easier way. Couldn’t we just take a pill or do something that did not require so much work, discipline, and consistency. Then of course this fit young guy chimes in, “Yeah, but it is fun to work out,” as he did a little flex of his muscles while straightening his hair and increasing the tempo of his machine (and I think he sounded a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger). My buddy and I just looked at him and each other and gave big sighs of exasperation!
The truth is if we want to make a change, to be transformed, it does take effort, and the energy we put out has to be more than what is required to just maintain. This is true in taking care of our yards, our cars, our homes, our minds, our health…and yes our friendships, our marriages…and even in our jobs, our schooling, our sports, and our hobbies…and most certainly our relationship with God and living life His way.
Transformation is not automatic. We don’t just show up at the gym and somehow miraculously transform as we walk in the door (though that would be nice), neither does that home project just happen when we buy the paint and brushes. We have to put out the efforts to work out or paint. The same with our faith, we will not become more like Jesus or grow by just showing up at church and sitting through a church service.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
That ‘renewing of the mind’ is the study of God’s Word; His principles, precepts, and purposes and applying them to life through practice. I love how the Apostle Peter put it… 2 Peter 1:5-8 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Those words ‘make every effort’ yes, mean we need to put out the energy, but those words also have with it a notion that ‘risk’ will be involved. The risk is the surrender to God’s way…God’s way to be virtuous (in line with God’s morals not the world’s), to know God more, to have self-control (not the world’s view of never deny any want or pleasure), to be steadfast or have perseverance with faith (not as the world teaches that says give up if it’s difficult), to seek godliness, being a great friend, and love (not the world’s view of love that is self-focused, but that is a 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 kind of love). Taking the risk to work out these exercises will bring about great transformation in our faith.
I wonder how much spiritual sweat we put in to bringing about a healthy faith and transformation. I know I want be more disciplined with my faith as I am trying to with my physical health. What about you?
Seeking some transforming workouts in faith with you,