Why not exercise our souls?
I’ve never taken a boot camp class–the idea of someone screaming at me is not motivating–but plenty of folks have endured the abuse. And how many more of us commit to bruising careers that feel like endurance tests? We have no problem taxing our minds and bodies, so why not our souls?
It recently occurred to me that being a Christian is like being in boot camp. There’s God, who rivals any exacting boot camp instructor or demanding boss. There are high expectations and few days off. And sacrifices build character rather than muscles or IQ points.
Despite the similarities, man-made boot camps offer one advantage over God's-relatively quick gratification. If we're hitting the gym and watching our diet, we expect to lose a pound a day. And even the most exasperating job can lift our spirits on payday. But there's no benefits schedule with God. No amount of hours at the gym (i.e. church) or overtime at work (i.e. prayer) will accelerate the blessings he has in mind for you.
I’m convinced that being a Christian is at least 75% waiting. There are an untold number of Bible verses that extol waiting on the Lord. God tells us to wait for:
And lots of other stuff…
God forgives us instantly when we genuinely repent, but many other blessings require an indefinite, interminable wait. So, what’s with all the waiting? Doesn’t God know (or care) how much we hate to wait, how much it stresses us out and makes us crazy? What kind of boot camp would cause so much unnecessary angst? I mean, who wants to be David, who waited 14 years for a promotion, or Sarah, who waited 25 years for a child? Who would sign up for that?
Maybe God is trying to tell us that our focus should be on the journey rather than the destination. Waiting highlights our fault lines and shows us the parts of ourselves that need work. It show us whether our commitments are real or just lip service. It reveals our passions and hones our priorities. We know the physical benefits of waiting for dessert until after we’ve had a healthy meal, or the financial benefits of saving for a comfortable retirement. So why don’t we value the spiritual benefits of waiting on God?
Maybe we’re exhausted after committing to those other boot camps and don’t have the stamina for another one. Maybe we think our character and conscience are good enough and don’t need the exercise. Maybe we think our souls are less important than our minds and bodies. But consider this-if our souls atrophy, will it matter how smart and toned we are?
If you’re someone who believes in sowing and reaping good things, but have yet to work out your core (your soul!), consider joining God’s boot camp. After all, everyone’s soul needs conditioning and the benefits, while slow in coming, are long-lasting. Once you get started, you’ll find God's benefits are worth waiting for.
Photo credit: CREATISTA / Shutterstock
Resources: How to Love God With All Your Soul