Working Out and Being on Mission

I’m not one of those guys. Yes I played sports in High School. Yes I loved sports. Yes I spent all of my free time at the gym….

Bible Bowl Champs

I worked HARD at football b/c I didn’t have as much natural talent as some other guys. I worked HARD at soccer b/c I wasn’t as fast or accurate as some of the other guys. I worked my butt off to be good at sports. It didn’t come naturally by any means.

Here was my schedule – go to school – go to practice – Spend an hour after practice working out at the school gym – eat dinner – go work out at the gym – find time to get a 4.286 gpa. How the heck did I do that! As soon as I graduated high school I slowly found myself lacking the motivation to work out as much. Yes I would be able to go on crazy work out spurts. Call it being intense, call it binge working out, call it what you will, they never lasted more than 2-3 weeks before I fell back into laziness. Why?

I lacked motivation to maintain discipline!

Think about it. In High School I wanted to be the best, or at the very least competitive. I had a goal set before me. Even more importantly I wanted to help my team win the championship. (By the way we won league and made it to the CIF semi-finals in football.)

Tangible goals that I really believed in motivated me to stay disciplined!

I think the same holds true in Christianity. Why do so many of us struggle to spend time with God through scripture and prayer? Why do so many of us find it a chore to get up 30 minutes earlier to spend time with God but don’t have that same problem when it comes to working out?

At times I will enter my “workout binge” stage. Usually the goal is I want to lose a few pounds or I want to look really good. But those goals are shallow. Even I don’t believe in them enough to put all of my effort into fulfilling them. I think that happens with our time with God as well. We are told that its good to spend time with God, so we should make every effort to do it. We “binge devotion” i.e. read our bibles and pray for 2 weeks but then fall back into our old habits. That is partly b/c we are never given a tangible goal that we really believe in.

What is our tangible goal that we can really believe in? Whatever it is we have to believe that it is of utmost importance. In sports I believed that winning CIF was of utmost importance. Second we must believe that its something worth giving all of our time and energy towards. Third it must happen in community. If I didn’t have a team spurring me on I doubt that I would have been so disciplined in sports.

Football - Village

Is there something in our Christian faith that matches us with these three things? I certainly think there is. So what is that goal?

God’s glory among the nations is an “epic” enough goal to get our butts out of bed every morning to spend time with him.

What if each of us knew that without that time with him we wouldn’t accomplish our goal? What if we believed that those 30 minutes per day could change our lives and could change the world around us. What if we really believed that those 30 minutes could mean the difference between life and death for somebody in an unreached people group on the other side of the world.

God’s glory in the nations is a tangible goal that I can really believe in and give my life to. I don’t feel that way about “my own personal growth.”

Seeking transformation for the sake of transformation is a dead end. Seeking transformation for the sake of God’s glory among the nations is powerful motivation…


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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