I was at the YMCA the other day working out. The Y has televisions on most of the exercise machines that you may watch when exercising. I love this feature as it lets me watch baseball as I workout. During one commercial break I noticed that every commercial was telling me that I was not complete without purchasing this latest new diet pill or exercise machine that was guaranteed to make my slimmer and trimmer in just a few short weeks.
They promised that with minimal effort and minimal exposure to sweat that the pounds would just melt off. Having fallen for these fad diets and products for the last 15 years I am leery of them. I have discovered there is no substitute for hard work and healthy eating. It is simple math, if you eat less calories than you burn off then you lose weight.
I have also discovered this to be true about my spiritual life. For years I have suffered through the latest Christian fad of prayers for Jabez sort of faith, a purpose driven faith, the name it and claim it kind of faith, and the spirit guided tongue freeing faith only to discover the same thing applies to working out and my spiritual growth, I will only get out of it what I put into it.
I am discovering now in this season of my life that I must orientate my life around healthy eating and an active lifestyle in order to combat and repair the destructive unhealthy eating habit and the sedentary lifestyle that has plagued my life thus far. The same is true for my spiritual life. My life must revolve around spiritual practice and devotion to God in order for me to enter into the active healing process of the sin and depravity that mires the profane places of my heart and mind. I will only get out of my spiritual practice that which I invest into it. There is no easy way out of a deep meaningful relationship with Jesus the Christ.
There is no fad practice that will end the complacency of soul and self like that decision to sellout for Christ and get all Jesus on the world. As I am discovering with my new lifestyle changes, as I replace the old habits of sloth and idleness with the new habits of dedication and sacrifice I am renewed and my life gets better. I promise you that the same it true with entering into renewed spiritual practice. That as you commit and sacrifice your life to spiritual discipline you will discover a new way, a new life that exceeds the beauty of your old ways.
It is my hope that as we move towards fall and the beginning of Advent that we dedicate our lives to being with each other as we all endeavor to deepen our discipleship with hard work sacrifice and commitment to the divine presence in all of our lives.
Please contact Rev. Ryan Kemp-Pappan for information on small groups & spiritual formation classes for the fall.