I’ve taken to running recently. I’m actually going to run my first ever half-marathon (that’s 13.1 miles) this coming Saturday, November 24. My goal is simply to finish the race without walking…and I’m expecting it to take me close to three hours if not longer. It’s a very hilly course, touted as the most challenging in our region.
I find that the practice of running reeks with metaphor.
I preached on Romans this morning; specifically Romans 12:2, where Paul writes “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” and I had to think that my mind has been transformed by the renewing of my body.
It’s so easy for us “Christians” to be down on people who are just going through the motions. We have this funny hang-up about your heart needing to be in it, or else it’s worthless.
I’ve been ‘going through the motions’ for the past 4 months of training. My mind doesn’t think I’m capable of running 13.1 miles this Saturday any easier now than it did at the beginning.
But my body knows it can do it, because my body knows it ran 12 miles just a week ago, in spite of my mind.
My point is this. It’s ok to go through the motions. It’s OK if your heart isn’t in this thing called “faith” or “church” or even “Christianity” from time to time. As long as you get out there and do what you need to do consistently, the heart and the mind will follow (at least eventually).
Living with faith is hard work; hard work that we so often want to turn into a once-and-done convenience. Being Christian, like being a runner, takes dedication that goes beyond the emotion or the feelings or the “heart” that you put into the concept.
Christianity is more than a diet-pill that guarantees you’ll lose weight if you follow all the right rules…even though that’s the pill that’s on sale in too many churches.
It’s more like a lifestyle where you put forth more effort than what you consume; and therefore lose weight. It’s harder to do, it’s less convenient, but it’s also better for everyone involved.