Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)
They pop up everywhere. Whether they are online or on TV, ads for weight loss pills are a huge part of American society. And, there is great appeal to them. Are you overweight? Then take this pill five times per day and watch the pounds melt away! There is no effort required to gain that perfect body that you’ve always dreamed about. Simply pick up a bottle the next time you go shopping, or, even better, just order it online and have it shipped directly to you. Here’s the problem. The models that represent the product in the ads aren’t actually being fully truthful. I know! It’s shocking! The people that hock the drugs hit the gym every day; they do cardio, they do weights, they do hundreds of sit-ups, and isometric toning. They eat well, burning at least as many calories as they eat. You won’t look like they do by taking a magic pill. You have to work at it. You can’t be lazy. You must be disciplined.
It’s the same when it comes to our faith. Often times we think that there are shortcuts to developing a strong, eternal faith – if I just read a Bible passage when I’m in trouble, that will fix my faith. Surely that’s a magic pill! Alas, it ain’t. It’s like going for a walk around the block and then rewarding yourself with a pint of ice cream. A thousand calories eaten and only a handful of calories burned. Lazy faith doesn’t equal fit faith.
Instead, we must have spiritual discipline – a workout routine – which gets us, and keeps us in spiritual shape. Much like athletes and those fitness models, you must make sure your workout is well-rounded. (For example, just running won’t produce muscle mass, but does increase endurance.) So, how we get in spiritual shape? Here’s a simplified list: 1) An active prayer life. Occasional prayer doesn’t work. 2) Bible study. Fill your mind with the Scriptures, not just a memory verse or two. And, follow what the Bible teaches. Think of it as your personal trainer. 3) Belong to a community. Think of church as your gym. It’s where you go to get motivated to work out and be accountable to your workout buddies. 4) Share your faith. This is a big one that gets missed. Sharing your faith is what all the training is about. Put those muscles and endurance to use. Journey with others and help them develop an eternal faith in Jesus, too.