I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. Do you know what I mean? Last year, I decided to go all in and get a trainer so that I had some accountability. I love my trainer; he challenges me and pushes me to keep going when I want to stop. It’s great, but it is annoying at the same time. At the beginning of each session, with a big smile and in the most excited voice you can imagine, he asks how I felt after my last session. My answer is always the same, “Sore!” I used to think this response would garner me some mercy and he would keep the exercises light, but his response is always the same, too, “That’s great! We want to live sore!”
As much as I dislike sweating it out, I’m learning to actually enjoy the feeling of soreness because I know it means I accomplished something. It means I kept the promise I made to myself to steward my health. I moved my body and I’m building muscle. The soreness is not there all the time, but when I squat to pick up something my son dropped on the ground or get the gallon of milk from the fridge, my body immediately reminds me that I spent time at the gym and that I committed to go to the gym again the next day. I think that’s what my trainer meant when he said, “We have to live sore!” Because when I’m not living sore, it means I was inactive and didn’t put in enough work to challenge my body or develop muscle.
The importance of exercise is common knowledge. I’ve known all about the benefits long before I started training. In fact, I have a doctoral degree in physical therapy and use exercise as my primary medium to help people heal and prevent injury. I literally work in a gym and prescribe different exercises all day long. I use that knowledge to help everyone, yet . . . my knowledge remains useless to me if I don’t choose to use it and live sore.
The importance of knowledge in action is also emphasized in the Bible.
Jesus came to a group of people called the Pharisees who had memorized Scripture. They were experts in the law who could quote it all day long but didn’t quite live it out themselves. That is why Jesus’ call to discipleship wasn’t simply, “Believe me” or “Know me”; instead it was “Follow me.” This was the missing piece in the Pharisees’ faith. So Jesus, the Word made flesh, came to show people how to live out the Word.
I think as Christians, we are often so familiar with knowing the way of Jesus that we can go through the motions and quote the verses, but our lives don’t always reflect that we have been with Jesus.
Here are questions to ask yourself:
Are you convicted when you gossip with your friend or get angry at a loved one?
Are you complaining about your kids or actually praying for and discipling them?
Are you confident in your identity, and not striving to fit in to earn significance?
Are you compelled to share the gospel with your neighbor?
Are you compassionate to the needy in your city?
We go to church. We do our quiet time. But often we are not changed. There isn’t any evidence that our lives are different from doing those things.
Christianity isn’t just about what you believe. It’s also about what you do with what you believe. If we have been transformed by the grace of God, then something about our lives will look different.
Moses met with God on Mount Sinai and when he came back down to the people, his face shone so bright, they couldn’t look at Him (Exodus 34:29-30). Being in the presence of God transformed how Moses looked.
After Jesus’ ascension, people marveled at the disciples because of their message. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
I want the world to look at me and see that I am different. The world desperately needs people who are living counter-culturally, people who are in the world, but not of it. When we live this way, we feel the discomfort of extending grace and forgiveness when someone hurts us, the tenderness of our hearts breaking at a stranger’s loss, and the pulling of our affection away from the things of the world.
Lord, make us a people who don’t just know You, but who want to be with You . . . and let our lives show it!