Thursday, March 24, 2011

Does the Scale Lie?

This morning I did something I rarely do anymore...I stepped on the scale. While my 5' 6" frame has never been overweight by any stretch, (I've pretty much stayed between 122-130 in my adult life), this thought hit me this morning...the scale can lie.

Here's what I mean. Stepping on the scale and reading my weight can give me a false sense of health. There are at least three areas that I need to focus on to maintain proper physical health; exercise, (specifically cardio - getting my heart-rate up), building muscle, (which I do via push-ups, sit-ups, and other athletic activity), and diet. Doing 1 of the three, or even 2 of the 3 is not enough. In order for me to promote health, I need to do all three; exercise, diet, and muscle building.  Stepping on the scale and reading my weight doesn't really tell me anything. I could easily add 10 lbs and if I do it right, I could be healthier than I am now. Conversely, I could lose 3 lbs but if I lose 3 lbs of muscle, I'm actually doing a dis-service to myself.

What hit me this morning is how our spiritual lives mirror this. There are three primary areas that Jesus calls us to grow in if we're His disciples; heart, mind, and strength...or in other words, knowledge, passion/intimacy, and application.

Mind = Knowledge: This is our life-long pursuit of learning and knowing about God. For how can we properly worship a God we only partially know? So many of us are guilty of worshipping a God that we invent or project, without taking the time to really know Him. There's a worship song we used to sing where the chorus says "I will worship You for who You are..." and every time we would sing it, my prayer was "God, help me to see You for who You truly are, not for how I project You to be." The more we get to know Him, the more we love Him and can respond to Him. I love my wife more today than I did when we got married. Why? One reason for sure is because I know her so much better.

Heart = Passion/Intimacy: I use both of these words together, because I believe they are tied together. Passion has to do with our zeal for God, our emotional commitment. It's not just enough to "know" God; He wants a heart-commitment from us. After all, He has gone "all in" with us and wants the same back. Again, to use the marriage analogy (which God does), what if on your wedding day your wife/husband handed you a book and said, "here you go honey. Read this book memorize it, and you'll know all about me." That would be great and all, but it would definitely not be enough. You'd end up with a relationship that was all knowledge, and no commitment, no intimacy. In Isaiah 29 God had this rebuke for his people;

"These people come near to me with their mouths but their hearts are far from me." (Isaiah 29:13).

Knowledge alone is not must be accompanied with passion, zeal, emotion. God desires intimacy with you and I.

Strength = Actions: As great as it is to have knowledge and passion, those two are not enough if they're not accompanied by doing the things that God wants us to do. What sets Christians apart from everyone else is the way God defines it is a verb, an action word. How we love each other and how we love our community and the world is what sets us apart. And sometimes we simply need to obey because God told us to.

"We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them." (1 John 2:3-5a)

Of course if you still need convincing about our actions/works, read the story of the Sheep and the Goats. The point of this story? What you do for you love them is what marks the difference between those destined for heaven and those destined for hell.

If all I ever did was read my Bible, I would have a lot of knowledge and nothing else, and would be well on my way to becoming a modern day Pharisee.
If all I ever did was do good works, I'd be known as a great man but in the end, would God even know me?
If all I ever did was show my passion and zeal for God, I'd likely become known as overly-emotional with no depth...someone who just kind of "flips on the God-switch."

The goal is to be 100% sold out to all three areas of our life! To grow fully as a disciple, we must cultivate knowledge, risk our heart in relationship and trust, and do the good works that He has for us.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut 6:4-5)

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