“And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. So, don’t fool yourselves.”
James 1:22 TLB
Friend to Friend
I was in middle school when body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger won his 7th Mr. Olympia title. His chiseled musculature was simply stunning, leaving many an onlooker slack-jawed. For many, he was a physical wonder to be marveled at; to a few, he became an inspiration to begin pumping some serious iron!
Viewing a body building competition can be entertaining, fascinating, even captivating, but you never leave the “show” stronger than when you entered, simply for having been a spectator.
Church-going for a Christian can be much like viewing a body building competition. You show up on Sunday, take your seat, and watch the worship team and your pastor “flex their spiritual muscles” by showing you the results of all the spiritual heavy lifting they’ve been doing throughout the week. They’ve been faithfully in the Word, in prayer, composing, rehearsing—all for the sake of edifying the Body. And, wow, does it show!
We, as parishioners, can enthusiastically join in our local church’s Sunday celebration. We can sing our hearts out with hands raised and tears flowing. We can take notes, underline verses or circle key words in our Bibles. We can nod in agreement and even shout out a well-timed, “Amen,” or “Preach it, Pastor.” And boy, oh, boy, do we leave inspired. But unless that Sunday inspiration turns into spiritual “perspiration” over the course of the next six days, we will be as spiritually weak the following Sunday as we were the Sunday before—still struggling to withstand Satan’s attacks and our own propensity to sin.
In high school I played field hockey and ran track. At the start of each sports season, our school’s athletic department would host a pep rally in the gym. Athletes, suited up in their sports jerseys, were seated in the bleachers along with the rest of the student body. The marching band played inspiring tunes from the movie, Rocky, and the rock group, Queen, while the cheer leaders fed our excitement with their display of waving pom poms and well-rehearsed cheer routines.
What was the point of all this “HOO-RAH?” It was to motivate those who were in the stands to get out on the field! Whether you were a cheering fan, a water boy, or someone who helped the coach keep stats you were needed out there. For those of us who were athletes, we were encouraged to train harder, compete stronger, and win more often!
That’s what your church leadership is hoping YOU will do after leaving Sunday morning services. Don’t settle just to be part of the pep rally on Sunday—spend your time building your own spiritual muscles through the” heavy lifting activities” of Bible reading, Bible study and through spending concerted time in prayer. Then get out on the field and play your heart out, girl!
Jesus, forgive me for being content with spectator Christianity. I want to build my own spiritual muscles. Give me the drive and disciple it requires to be in your Word and in prayer on a regular basis. Then use my new-found muscles for the advancement of your Kingdom here on Earth!
In the Mighty Name of Jesus, I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
I had a Sunday School teacher as a child who had posters up on her classroom walls with slogans like: “Seven Days Without Prayer Makes One WEAK” and “It’s difficult to stay in shape, spiritually, if you only work out on Sundays!”
My church background truly laid a foundation for me to seek God for myself, to grow strong in His Word, to do the work of prayer. Maybe that’s not been your upbringing, so you’ve been living the life of a spectator Christian because it’s all you know. Well, today I hope you’ve been encouraged to do something different.
Tomorrow I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. Pray, read, ponder…then go give that nasty Devil some serious interference!
More from the Girlfriends
Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake (Harvest House Publishers) is one of Lisa’s six books in her Restoring Your Temple® health resource collection. Her books are available on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or wherever books are sold.
Lisa Morrone, PT is a physical therapist, professor, author of six books, radio guest and event speaker who encourages people to “Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake.” Visit Lisa’s website for more information and to sign up to receive her informative “Monday Morning Health Tips”!