No, I am not about to write a blog on politics or what is wrong with America. Frankly that’s a worn out trend that I’m not sure really gets us anywhere to begin with. I want to write in a way today that challenges each of us to take an introspective look at the events of our lives both good and bad and how we respond to them.
In my personal Bible study time I have been going through the book of Jeremiah. He is known as the weeping prophet for a reason. God delivers a lot of bad news to Israel through Jeremiah. You may be quick to say, but isn’t he the prophet that wrote ‘I know the plans I have for you’? Yes he is. That seems to be the only verse from Jeremiah that many Christians are familiar with and because of that, there is a tendency to take it way out of its exegetical context. But that’s a blog for another day.
As you read through Jeremiah, it is chapter upon chapter of God telling His people what’s about to happen because of their sin and none of it is good. God is absolutely fed up with the cycle of Israel obeying Him, rebelling, getting into trouble, begging for His help, repenting, obeying…..and so on the cycle goes. He is about to rock their world like it hasn’t been rocked before.
Us religious folk find it very easy to point the finger at Israel and wonder how in the world they could have so easily disobeyed God by building idols and worshiping false gods. Sadly, it’s one of the things we are really good at and it drives me absolutely nuts. It drives me to the point where I want to ask all of us if we have even bothered to take a look at the American church.
If you are not paying attention to your surroundings, let me encourage you to keep your eyes open. Sin is much more readily accepted, explained away, or even sometimes called completely ok in an effort to appease the church’s critics. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you heard about gluttony being sin? I can bring that one up because it’s a struggle for me that I am working to conquer and still have a ways to go. (You thought I was going to go somewhere else, didn’t you? I told you this wasn’t going to get political.) The church is so quick to point out the sins that their leadership doesn’t struggle with, but ironically silent on the ‘little, private sins’ that most of us wrestle with on a daily basis. I don’t remember God ever saying that some sin was meant to stay private and hidden and others were to be called out from the top of the mountain for all the world to hear. When we aren’t willing to clean the junk out of our own closets and get rid of it, who are we to expect everyone else to?
What in the world does this have to do with history repeating itself? Everything. Israel loved to rest on the label of God’s chosen people. It is obvious by their behavior that they felt entitled to be rescued by God from their own calamity despite their inability to follow His commands in their daily lives. Sound familiar? Is it possible that Christians (particularly in America) have that same sense of entitlement? The only difference is that we feel entitled to call out everyone else’s sin while doing our best to keep our sin hidden in the dark.
I have wrestled with this and still wrestle with it. One of the reasons that I have decided to post public updates on my fitness journey is simply for the accountability. If I don’t post an update, I want someone to ask me why. Gluttony is real in my life. Just three months ago, it would have been nothing for me to sit down on the couch to watch a ball game and devour an entire bag of potato chips, cheese curls, doritos, or whatever other junk food we had in the house. I’m not doing that anymore. I decided two things.
First, as the head of my household it is my job to set the example for my family. My kids don’t need to see me eating bucket loads of that junk. They see me log everything I eat and when they ask me why, I’m able to tell them. It’s not fun to look at your child and admit that you’re fat (to their credit they always tell me I’m not), but it is necessary because I don’t want them to fall into the trap that I fell into of being bored and looking for food. I love the fact that they want to go on short walks or bike rides with me and I do my best to make time to do that. I am trying to lead by example.
The second thing I decided was that if I am to be an effective minister of Jesus Christ (whether I’m employed in the ministry or simply volunteering on a team), I don’t want to run the chance of my weight being a hindrance to someone. Does that sound crazy? Maybe, but have any of you ever heard someone referred to as ‘another fat Christian that loves his fried chicken.’ I’ve actually heard that used. It’s convicting to me.
I can take this one a step further and be challenged even more by scripture that says my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). That should challenge me to take care of my body in the best way that I am capable of and that’s what I’ve decided to do.
Well, I said this would be a challenge to get introspective with yourself and in the process I’ve laid out my recent struggles. I don’t do this for the pats on the back. I hope that somehow, someone might learn from the mistakes I’ve made and the steps that I’ve taken to begin course correction. Be blessed!
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