February 25, 2017
Firm or flabby, which will it be? When I was a kid, Jack LaLane was the exercise guru of television. LaLane was the epitome of fitness, the vision of a Greek god with his broad, muscular chest, bulging biceps and tiny waist. Top it off with rugged good looks and a head of curly hair; I'm sure he caused many a middle-aged woman to swoon in spite of his being happily married for more than fifty years. There was just one problem: his physique were definitely not the result of his TV show routines, which were pretty lightweight. Nevertheless, his emphasis on healthy eating and healthy living were foundational for a new generation of fitness experts.
Today we have an abundance of fitness resources, from dvd's to fitness clubs and personal trainers. We spend a lot of time, money, and effort in our quest for fitness. Firm is in; flab is not. Which is why today's reading caught my eye. "[Stand] firm in your faith," Peter tells us in his first letter. Firm, not flabby. It is interesting how much we pursue firmness of body while allowing flabbiness of soul. We will spend thousands of dollars, countless hours, and enormous amounts of energy for the fitness of our bodies, while expecting that our souls can be firm with an occasional smattering of church and Scripture.
What if firmness of faith requires the same kind of exertion as firmness of body? What if it requires time, commitment, sacrifice, and pushing through the pain of training? What if it meant we had to change our diets, eschewing the empty calories of television, internet, idle conversation, and wasted investment in idle hobbies? What if it required us to discipline ourselves to forgive, to give sacrificially, to push through our fears to actually speak to someone about their need for Christ? What if it took the same kind of dedication as it takes our physical bodies to move from flabby to firm? Well, I believe it does. Tonight I am thankful for the challenges that the Scriptures continually present to me, their refusal to let me coast or rest on whatever laurels I may have. I am thankful that faith doesn't have to be flabby. We can stand firm, no matter what we face.