I’ve always been a bit of a gym rat. I enjoy working out for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because it’s a great stress reliever. It helps to go and push around a little weight and let some of the frustration energy out.
You learn pretty early on when working out or training for a sport, there’s a good pain associated with training. Most of us know what a bad pain feels like if we strain or pull something. There’s a good pain associated with pushing yourself and knowing you put in some serious effort. If you’ve left the gym or a sports practice and you’re not sore at all or have any of that good pain, chances are you cheesed out and didn’t really push yourself.
If you want to grow as an athlete or in the gym, you have to push yourself. You must experience some discomfort for the betterment of your body. You can’t grow muscles without tearing them. That’s actually how muscles grow. The little muscle fibers tear and your body repairs them. This is an essential process to muscle growth.
“for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8
The same concept is true with our faith, but we don’t experience it a lot because that’s one of the areas we prefer comfort over growth. We like to be comfortable Christians. Like the person who’s a die hard Steelers fan and feels like part of the team because of his passion, they’ve never actually played a game. They’ve never sweat and bled with those guys on the field. When they refer to the Steeler’s, however, they refer to them as ‘their team.’
Many of us refer to the church we attend as ‘our church’. Yet many don’t engage in the church. They’re not a part of the team, only a spectator. Like the NFL couch watcher, they are the biggest critics, however. They have no problem complaining about decisions made or the way things are being done.
The next time we want to complain about the church, we should ask ourselves; “Am I an active part of this church or just a couch watcher?” Are we a part of the church at all? When was the last time we shared Christ with a lost person? When was the last time we cared for the widows or the orphans? When was the last time we helped to build the church up, instead of tearing it down with our complaints and couch mentality?
Do we know how to engage someone with questions and false information about the Bible or Christianity? Do we know how to engage in a healthy conversation to take someone who is skeptical toward Christianity to help them see the freedom Christ brings? These are basic fundamentals of the faith so many church people are missing.
Let’s put in some ‘good pain’ in striving to see the church thrive before we criticize the efforts being made. Let’s allow our bodies to be sore and tired from labor before criticizing the laborers. Let’s learn how to engage as part of the church.