One of the reasons why I am a Methodist is because of the disciplines practiced to obtain spiritual health. To learn briefly what they are, go HERE.
I always imagined treating these disciplines like I would muscle groups in the gym. I love bodybuilding and powerlifting, especially when they are put together in a program to build strength, symmetry, and more importantly longevity. Likewise, I see the Christian spiritual disciplines like powerlifting, symmetry, and longevity.
Powerlifting and Olympic weight lifting are very similar. The difference lies in where you start and how you finish. See where I am going with this? Are you "picking up what I'm laying down?" Powerlifting is power at the beginning of a movement that tapers off toward the end. Olympic lifting is essentially power throughout and ending solidly. Understand, that is a very general way of looking at it.
When I think of "heavy lifting" for spiritual exercises, I think it is reading the Word, praying, music, and ministering to the needy (hungry, fatherless, widowed). All of those things should be done individually and in community.
Bodybuilding is about shaping the body to look good, and to look good with minimal fat. There is a degree and danger of vanity here, because bodybuilding is about health and looking good. Too often people in the church just want to look good, and do things that make them look good. But inside, their empty and wanting.
In order to have good shaping in one's spiritual life, I think those are the things that cause us to go out of our comfort zones - that is where growth occurs. Growth occurs with a little "pain." No pain no gain after all. We need to allow and have God shape us and mold us to look more and more like him. We often think of our giftings at this point. I challenge that.
Jesus sent out about 150 disciples in 2s to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. I doubt every single disciple had the same gift set. So there is something about just getting the job done because it needs to be done. These are the places where we can be shaped and molded into the ambassadors of God that we need to be, through the power of His Holy Spirit. We need to be shaped by living out our faith. We have the Holy Spirit, and therefore have all the gifts of the Spirit. The one gift is the Holy Spirit. Be empowered and shaped by it.
Understand something. You ready?
If you exercise regularly, you are an athlete.
Did you chuckle or laugh? I can understand that. But understand yourself as an athlete, and act like one.
Same thing with being a Christian. If you believe in Jesus Christ you are a Christian. Act like one. Acting like a Christian is both hearing the Word and acting it out (doing it.) When we ... wait for it ... exercise our faith we are acting as ambassadors of Christ in the world. This isn't easy. This is like being up for the Supreme Court every day of our lives and people reminding us of our past, or accusing us of things to tear down who we are.
The same was done to Jesus.
We need to press on. Our strength is in the Lord, and our home is a present reality and a far away place. We live in the Kingdom of God now, and our longevity comes as we practice and live out the Disciplines. To believe in Jesus and then do nothing is not Christianity. To believe in Jesus and be saved from doing things our way (self-referenced life) and do things God's way (God-referenced life) we are at the beginning of a journey that goes on into perpetuity.
Grow in grace through the disciplines. Focus on some for a time, then others. Build your life in power, balance, and longevity as servants, sons, and daughters of the living God!
Some "weekly" musings from Pastor Dave as he sits on his porch and drinks coffee, thinking about theology and lifting heavy weights. For gymsharks, there is something called "Flex Fridays," where we vainly put up photos of ourselves flexing. So this blog is my attempt to flex my theological muscles through reflection ... get it?