Friday, September 08, 2006

Chicken Legs

The year 2006 for me has been a year when I decided to get back into a routine of participating in various activities for the purpose of being physically fit. My wife graciously bought me a gym membership for Christmas and I've been faithful in my pursuits. It wasn't just another New Year's resolution gone down the drain.

One of the things I notice at the gym is that there are many, I mean MANY people who show up there and do what I think is absolutely absurd. They work one part of their body so it will be big and strong. In the end, the human landscape is quite deformed. You see huge chests and shoulders, then scanning down you will see large midsections and then...chicken legs! The sad fact is that these people have decieved themselves into thinking that a big chest or big arms looks cool or masculine and ignore altogether total body fitness. I don't care who you are, if you have twenty four inch biceps and can't handle fifteen minutes on a treadmill you're not fit. Who are they fooling? Then again, who am I Mr. Universe? Not yet anyway.

So what about Christian spirituality and how it relates to chicken legs, have you ever thought about that? Go ahead and visit some churches (if you have a territorial, competitive pastor he may frown upon that) and see what I mean. Many churches have different emphases in their ministries and it is affecting their overall "church health". There are some churches that focus totally on spiritual manifestations. There are some churches that focus on people submitting to authority (it's usually the pastor saying that one). Still other churches make foreign missions their top priority while others make God's prosperity to the believer their emphasis. Are we getting healthy churches out of this approach or are we left with the Body of Christ with chicken legs?

It happens in other ways too. Look at the compartmentalization of church ministry. The Bible shows us that we're a connected body, a family if you will, yet we separate our ministries into "men's ministry, women's ministry, children's minstry, youth ministry etc." These are NOT evil. They are NOT bad things to have but the potential for working one muscle more than the rest is great.

I sense that there is a movement afoot that gets back to our roots and pays attention to the whole body. Spiritual health is more than just money in our pockets or submitting to authority or a men's or women's Bible study. As a matter of fact, spiritual health has little to do with any of those things.

Spiritual health comes from being connected to a body that is healthy. It comes from ingesting the right food, and being involved in activities that promote good spiritual health. I have a suggested list of activities to help you become spiritually healthy. It's a summary of the teachings of Jesus and Paul the Apostle. You'll find that if you do these, you won't be dealing with spiritual chicken legs!

- freely you have received, freely give
- submit yourselves one to another
- love one another
- take care of widows and orphans
- love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength
- love your neighbor as yourself
- pray without ceasing
- obedience is better than sacrifice
- avoid the appearance of evil
- husbands love your wives
- wives love your husbands
- repent
- a soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up strife

You'll find that these aren't relegated to a religious obligation. They can be performed anywhere at any time.

So if you are a "chicken legs", get out there and start getting spiritually fit. You'll find your endurance gets better as well as your strength. Who knows, maybe you'll inspire someone to do the same.

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