Summer is quickly approaching! Do you know what that means? That means that gyms are full and individuals are desperate to have a “summer body.” Who doesn’t want to be thin and tan for summer? It is almost a social expectation to have a different body shape for summer versus the other seasons. I have a vivid memory of being in middle school and running on a track and wanting to quit and my only thoughts were, “Summer body.” Looking back now at that point of my life, I see that I must of had really low self-esteem if my motivation to exercise was purely to have a “summer body.”
Two weeks ago I was visiting with a new friend. They told me that they are trying to live a healthier lifestyle by eating better and going to the gym. I expressed how I try to eat healthy but I am HORRIBLE at having the discipline to work out. The person I was speaking with said, “But you’re thin! You don’t need to worry about those things now!” Well, part of what they said is true. I am thin, but I still need to try to strive for a healthy lifestyle. Not just for trying to “have a great body” or whatever but for health reasons. I believe that God wants us to take care of our bodies and He has given us the resources to do so. Physically and emotionally I don’t feel good when I eat junk. When I eat a plant based diet, I feel great! What I put into my body determines how I feel emotionally and physically.
I have dwelled upon this little comment. Almost immediately I thought about this comment in a spiritual realm. I attend a Christian high school. I am part of a Bible study and am in synagogue most Friday’s. My parents never made me go to church and they still don’t. I look forward to going and am disappointed when I cannot make it to service. If you look at my schedule between chapel at school, Bible study, and synagogue, I hear a message four times a week. It would five times a week if I went to Torah study on Saturday’s. I am surrounded by Christianity most of the time. If I’m being honest, sometimes I am tired of hearing the messages, especially at school. I feel as if I hear the same topics every week just by a different speaker.
When I am around this culture of seemingly always being at church, it becomes easy not to personally pursue God. I fall into a trap of thinking, “I’ve listened to four pastors this week. I’m good with God.” People think that just because I go to a Christian high school that I’m automatically a Christian. Similiar to others thinking, “I’m healthy because I am thin.” I am guessing that many other students at my school have fallen into this trap, too.
When I make an effort to peruse a healthy lifestyle, I feel great. Some would say that because of my body shape I don’t need to exercise or eat healthy. Some would think that because I go to church, Bible study, and chapel, that I don’t necessarily need to do things such as pray, worship in private, read the Bible, and minister to others. But I do need to do those actions. I have more shalom (peace), understanding of His will, and joy when I personally pursue God. I don’t do these things purely for salvation. I see the Christian walk as heaven being a part of the journey but a deeper relationship with Yeshua being the destination. I don’t see working out as being skinny the complete goal, but rather simply being healthy.
As summer is approaching and the pressure starts for having a summer body I challenge you to pursue a deep relationship with God outside of the sanctuary, but in every place in your daily life.
One thought on “Off The Pew”
Jeremiah 29:13 says: You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
That is not a shot order, but a life long commitment. We can hear the gospel and godly talk as many times in a week as time will allow, we can listen as we are instructed at school, church and the like, but there is no mistaking the reading and studying of the word for yourself. The best teacher is the Holy Spirit, and man gets the word of G-d and His message wrong so many more times than not, that it is better to get firsthand education from G-d directly. There is no better teacher. Truth must be sought out for oneself and confirmed by G-d and His word alone. But first, we must be diligent in seeking His face and His word daily. The daily is to keep us conformed to His will, and to keep us from worldly lies and sin. The closer we stay to G-d the further we go from this world’s evil.