He Was a Perfect 10
I started going to the gym when I was 20 years old. My fascination with fitness started in Junior High, I believe. My Dad had a small weight bench set up in the garage and I can remember dabbling with that periodically. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I tried to do my own little program design and workout. When I was attending college I began to utilize the Recreational facility on campus. They have a pretty great facility there that offered full weight room, cardio equipment, indoor track, and a schedule of aerobics classes (aerobics was big in the 90’s). All of this was offered to the student body for free. Your membership card was your student body card. My next door neighbors house was a house full of guys (college student as well) who love to train, so they took me under their wing and taught me how to lift weights and use proper form and technique. I fell in love instantly. In fact, after having utilized the aerobics classes for over a year, upon adding weights to my program, I transformed my physique and leaned out like never before. I was a true believer and have been lifting heavy ever since.
When John and I first married, people I didn’t know very well from work or a volunteer agency I was involved with, would ask me if my husband made me work out. I always found this to be a bit hysterical. If you don’t know, my husband is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and has trained athletes at all levels for more than 30 years now. I’ve learned so much from him in this field of fitness that I dwell in and he has connected me with other esteemed teachers on this subject as well. I always told people when they’d inquire…”It’s something we love in common.”
With all of that being said….I’ve had a gym membership of some kind ever since. For all of these years, I have committed myself to it, so I’ve seen a lot of things. There is a diverse span of people at the gym. There are the super buff guys who want everyone to see how much they lift. There are the cross fitters who do their own thing. There are the physically fit Baby Boomers. There are the Moms trying to manage their weight and have a fitness shape. Then there are those who are there to socialize more than train. The ones my heart go out to the most are the ones who faithful come over a long span of time, but do not seem to ever loose the weight or progress. Yep, at the gym there are all kinds at all different places on their fitness journey, but we all have one thing in common…our membership.
Churches are like gyms. The people inside are all looking for the same thing, but we all have our own little flavor on how we pursue it under the same basic blueprint (the Bible). We go to church because something inside us wants more. We are on a quest or in pursuit of Spiritual Fitness. Just like the gym, we are not all in the same place. Some are seasoned and mature and know how to tackle their “trouble spots” or “spot reduce” something undesirable in their life. Others are brand new, haven’t “trained” their spirit a day in their life. Then there are those who come year after year, but never really seem to grow or progress.
This is a rich analogy. I have always seen the comparison between physical health and spiritual health and tend to use analogies this way to convey something I’d like to say to make the Bible or God more relatable. But I recently saw this theme somewhere else and remembered again how absolutely true it is.
Some people use the excuse that they have been hurt in church or there are hypocrites there, so they don’t go. I tell you friend, if this is you, there is something you need to know…
God loves you no matter what. He is the Personal Trainer who meets you at the Church, by vehicle of the Holy Spirit. God may use the Pastor or a leader in the church. Or he may use the person sitting to your right or your left. But if you get yourself through the doors, there will always be more and it will benefit your Spirit, just like going to the gym benefits your physical body.
Sometimes I have people tell me that they can only workout once a week right now so they aren’t going to workout at all until (they insert a time frame here)…I always tell them to workout once a week anyway! You will always benefit from every workout, no matter how inconsistent you might be, you will grow and learn and glean something for the future. Just like me, when I was a teen, I didn’t become knowledgeable or super fit overnight. It took time, persistence, and deliberate attempts to keep moving forward. I didn’t really know what I was doing with my Dad’s weights, but I wanted to know. So I dabbled (like many do with church), but when you are really serious about growing your strength, building your heart up, you will persist no matter how foolish you may feel at first or how insecure you may feel.
Those of us who have been in church a long time have to approach the New Believer with Fresh Eyes. Many are afraid that everyone can see their sin and are judging them. We must love on them and welcome them! Many times visitors to a church are intimidated by the Pastor or anyone who goes on the platform or up front as a spiritual leader. They won’t go forward because they are afraid. We, the Body in the chairs, need to be sensitive to the lead of the Holy Spirit and willing to pray with those who are too afraid to go forward for prayer. Always remember to obey and respect the lead of the elders and the Pastors at your church, but do not go to church and reside in your own little God bubble and not recognize the hurting person to your right or your left.
I can’t help but notice that there are hurting people everywhere. Even in churches. Especially in churches! Even people that many people would never suspect are hurting. We must be the unconditional love, one to another. The Word say that this is how the world will know us! This is how they recognize our “membership card”…it is stamped with Unconditional, Consistent and Abiding Love! (John 13:35)
Now, if you are reading this and you are one who is cynical of the “hypocrisy” of church and the people called “Christian”….remember my analogy. Jesus was the worlds only “Perfect 10”. He walked the earth with absolute pure and perfect wholeness. He wasn’t insecure. He didn’t’ have “baggage” from his past pain (but he could’ve of! What a scandalous story, son of an illegitimate birth!) He was famous for nothing, yet wore an expensive and seamless garment. He had no “trouble spots” he was trying to “spot reduce”. He just came to Love. He came for Love. Those who really wanted it, recognized it with the eyes of their heart. They didn’t stay away because of all the other people crowded around Him….not at all….they drew in tight to get a glimpse of Perfection and grasp a portion of His Peace.
He still shares His Peace, Patience, Comfort and Love today and He will bring people in your life who will be His Peace, bring His Comfort, share His Truth and Love on you.
When was the last time you drew your heart in to a prayer? Listened to a Preacher teach? Attended a church in your community? There is a rich and deep treasure waiting there for you. Yes, it may be a bit of a workout to get there, distractions everywhere and excuses will rise. But if you really want a glimpse of what Jesus has for you, you will press in and push through. You will attend. You will say a prayer and ask God to draw you in. Don’t let all of us “hypocrites” get in your way. We are all on our own “Fitness Journey”. We don’t have all the answers, but we are connected to the One who does. King Jesus, the world’s only Perfect 10. He is breath taking and gorgeous and I could stare into His heart and eyes all day long!
He loves you. He wants to help you get the results you seek (overcome that plateau you’ve been hovering at). He will teach you how to train smart, not necessarily hard, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-29)
It will be a Beautiful Restoration of your Soul and Transformation of Heart. This day is the day…it’s never to late to start!
I Believe in You!