The Unsexy Truth about Working Out
Over the past several years, I’ve developed the habit of working out. When people realize my gym routine is a part of my life, they typically are fascinated. Their thought process is, “What is different about you? How can you love going to the gym and working out?” In their mind, there is some secret answer as to how I habitually work out.
The truth is much less exciting. The truth usually isn’t sexy.
I don’t love working out. The actual work out is painful. It’s physically painful. It’s mentally painful. Working out is hard – just as hard today as it was a few years ago.
I do love the benefits of working out. I like the result it has on my body, but more than that, I love the feeling I have after working out. Working out cleanses me – physically, mentally, emotionally.
The truth usually isn’t sexy.
The Unsexy Truth about Christianity
I’ve come to believe there are a few “dirty” words in Christianity. We love to talk about grace and mercy. I can’t teach enough on love and joy. But if I bring up submission or obedience, faces turn flat. After all, I don’t have a problem with submitting to God…you do. I don’t need to hear about obedience, that’s problem parents have with their kids.
Obedience isn’t sexy, but it is foundational to a strong faith. I’ll take it a step further. Obedience generates power.
Obedience: the Power Behind Jesus’ First Miracle
The very first miracle of Jesus took place at a wedding. The party had run out of wine, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, asked for his help. Rather reluctantly, Jesus turned to the servants and asked them to fill some jugs with water. You may remember the water miraculously turns to wine. Not only did the water turn to wine, but it became a top notch wine.
Let’s look back to act of the miracle itself:
“Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.” -John 2:7-8 NLT (emphasis mine)
Fill the jars with water. Dip some for the MC. Those were the actions, but the power didn’t lie within the actions themselves. The power is found in the last line of the passage: “the servants followed his instructions.”
Obedience generated power.
We don’t know much about Jesus’ life to this point. Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, is most likely dead. We know that Jesus grew up in the small town of Nazareth. It seems Jesus is a regular (not important) guest at this wedding. Jesus has probably been a carpenter to this point in his life – no one of great status.
There was no reason why the servants would obey Mary or Jesus.
The servants do obey Jesus. Their obedience sparked a change in the course of history. Obedience generates power.
How Obedience Generates Power
It’s not just true of this story in the Bible. It’s a pattern throughout scripture. That means is true for me and you too. Here’s how obedience generates power in you and I:
1. Creates change.
There were two aspects in the Ten Commandments given to Moses in the wilderness. God designed these rules so his people would honor both Him each other. My obedience leads me to love God and to love people. When I love God and others it changes me. My mind is rewired, and I think of less of myself.
It’s not just me that changes though. The Church (around the world…every denomination) is imperfect. However, throughout history, followers of Jesus, by loving God and loving people, have changed the world. If I am obedient to love God and love people, I will change the world I live in.
Obedience creates change which generates power.
2. Nourishes me.
“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”. -Deuteronomy 5:33 NIV
There are multiple verses like this throughout scripture. Obey God and find prosperity. Our initial thought is to believe this means financial wealth. That definitely can be a result of my obedience to God, but it isn’t the only way to prosper.
More important than financial wealth is a healthy soul (mind, body spirit). When I live in obedience to the Word of God, I find nourishment for my soul. I am healthy.
Obedience nourishes me which generates power.
3. Keeps me in the light.
John in his letters to the churches spread across the Roman world, tells these young believers to stay in the light (1 John 1:5-7). He means living in obedience to what God has spoken.
Interestingly, part of obedience is living transparent lives. This means sharing our faults and missteps with our fellow believers. It also means asking for God’s forgiveness when we do sin.
Obedience keeps me in the light which generates power.
4. Plants seeds of righteousness and blessing.
One of my favorite concepts in scripture is the law of sowing and reaping. Paul talks about it in Galatians:
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” ~Galatians 7:7-8
When I obey God, I plant seeds of righteousness and blessing. Eventually, these seeds will grow into full trees of the same kind bearing fruit for a lifetime. In the same way, if I disobey, I plant seeds of dysfunction and destruction.
Here’s the catch with these seeds: it may take years to see the actual plant. The power comes not overnight but over decades.
Obedience plants seeds of righteousness and blessing which generate power.
Obedience: Your Unsexy Power Generator
When I obey God it generates power within me. That sounds really cool. Superhero kind of stuff. The energy source generating all that power though…not so sexy.
Obedience isn’t sexy, but it does create change, nourishes me, puts me in the light, plants seeds of righteousness and blessing in my life. All of that combined generates power within me. Obedience will do the same for you.
Obedience generates power.