Research has proven that exercise is good for us. It burns fat, it releases endorphins, and it strengthens our muscles and bones. But even with all the known benefits, exercise is still not on the top of the list for most people. I think it's because it takes time and effort. Most days it does come easy for me, but sometimes it is a struggle to come home from work and immediately choose to exercise... but after I have I am so thankful I did.
So, what if we put this in a spiritual context. I wonder what the "church", meaning the body of Christ, would look like if we did more spiritual exercising. We actually took the time and effort it requires to strengthen our faith.
As I am learning and experiencing more from Holy Spirit I am seeing that there is something required of me daily. In general, we go to church on Sundays and sit and get. We may do a small group or Sunday school or Bible study or life group sometime throughout the week and then return on Sunday for another message. But how many of us are truly exercising what we learned in those six days between Sundays? I think it's safe to say that we are spiritually obese. Matthew 9:37 says "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." Somewhere in the history of the church it became okay to sit and listen without action.
I was wondering today on my run what if the church had a "restaurant" side and "gym" side? I'm thinking the restaurant side would be for those visitors, nonbelievers, and those Christians who are experiencing trials. This would be a place they could come and learn and be loved on and just sit, without much being required of them. But then there would be the gym side. This side would be for believers wanting to exercise what they have been taught. I completely believe that we should be exercising what we have been taught weekly, but the truth is that it is scary and to be lead in a group of others would definitely take the fear away. I could see the elders or even those believers (personal trainers if you want to stick with gym analogy) who are further along in their exercise regiment being the one to lead this. This would be no longer a place where you would sit and listen, but a time where you would leave the church walls and go out into the community to heal, to pray for others, to wait on God to reveal a word, etc. I think the same principles of exercise would apply. Everything that you have learned (or your caloric intake) would be burned off leaving you needing more calories or spiritual bread. How much more would a sermon stick with us if we actually came to listen empty? I know after a workout I crave food and that food is much more enjoyable because I am needing it. But just like our bodies, if we don't burn off what we have already heard and learned we are just storing it and getting more and more obese.
I would love to hear your thoughts, or see if I am all alone on this subject matter or if there are churches out there that already go out on a weekly basis and "exercise". I try very hard to listen and act on what God gives me daily, but to be honest I feel like I'm floundering around 75% of the time. I think it would be so helpful to know that on a weekly basis I could join with other believers to practice and increase my faith. In the teaching world they call this the gradual release method.😉 Okay, I think I've overused analogies on this one post, but I hope somewhere in there something made sense! I know that physical endorphins feel amazing, but nothing compares to the spiritual endorphins that come with partnering with God and exercising your faith. I pray for more!