Written by Pastor Eliot.
I must say, I never understood why people join a gym. I mean, it seems more financially responsible to work out at home. In the long run, you can buy your own gym equipment or workout DVDs, pop them in, and never have to leave your house. Makes sense to me.
In fact, I live near Portage Park, and right across the street is an X-Sport. So you’ll see people inside the gym on treadmills running, and you’ll see people running laps around the park for free. I don’t get it.
According to a Livestrong article from January 2014, one of the main reasons people join a gym instead of working out at home is to avoid working out alone. The American College of Sports Medicine even recommends working out with other people. The reason? Motivation. You are more likely to miss fewer workouts and more likely to be consistent if you have a gym buddy. In fact, one of the reasons given for cancelling a gym membership is not having anyone to go with. So having people there to spur you on and work out with you is one of the main reasons to join a gym and stay committed to a gym.
That’s not all. The other reasons for not joining a gym are not having enough time (business with family or work) and being too tired. So what spurs on physical fitness is being with people who work out with you, and what quenches physical fitness is being too busy or tired. Hmm…
Of more importance than our physical fitness is our spiritual fitness. And just like physical fitness, our pursuit of spiritual fitness is either motivated or quenched. The author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day draw near.”
Why am I saying this? Summer is here and it’s the season for fun, family, and freedom (for students, especially). It’s the time where we get too busy, we get too tired, we get unmotivated. We want to relax, enjoy the sun, and spend time at barbecues. And oftentimes that leads to missing a church gathering, and then missing another, and then another, and before you know it, your participation at church gatherings is either inconsistent or nonexistent.
You want to maintain your spiritual fitness this summer? Stay connected to God and in community with His people. Let’s not use barbecues and beaches as an excuse to neglect gathering together. Let’s not use parties and plans to neglect Community Group. Just like working out alone often leads to missing workouts, getting too busy, and falling off track, so is the same with your spiritual life. Don’t try to work out spiritually alone this summer, but stay connected, in community, committed to following Jesus this summer.
At CityLights we are so invested in your spiritual fitness this summer that we are offering rich sermons on how to love and serve our city, training for biblical counseling, membership classes, and a host more. All these are to help keep you fit this summer until we start our new series on Genesis in September. So join others, and myself in being consistent, motivated, and stirred up with other believers at CityLights this summer. Don’t let yourself develop spiritual spare tires and beer bellies by September!