If you ever peruse social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, you’ll see a lot of posts about exercise. A lot.
Some are simple words of encouragement:
The latest trend, though, is sweaty selfies with tag lines like “I did it!” or “Almost ready for that 5k!”
These folks are shamelessly sharing their hot-mess photos with us because they know that we’ll understand their struggles, and we’ll respect their efforts.
The Christian Struggle
As Christians, we have our own struggles to contend with. Physical exercise might be hard, but disciplining our minds and hearts to seek and follow the Lord can be so much harder…and yet infinitely more rewarding. That’s why the writer of Hebrews said that we should “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b NAS).
If this daily spiritual exercise is so important, why don’t we see related posts on social media?
Imagine what would happen if friends posted memes like these:
Would you encourage these folks (“Thanks for sharing. We’ll be praying for you!”) or would you un-friend them?
Would you allow their stories to strengthen your own faith, or would you succumb to pride, judgment, and gossip?
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” (Matthew 7:1 NAS).
Let us Rejoice
We applaud anyone who performs physical exercise—regardless of how out of shape they are—because we know they can improve over time. It’s the effort that counts.
However, in our own Church family, we tend to criticize other believers who share their success stories. (“Why does she tell everyone she has a ministry degree? It sounds prideful to me!”) For those who have the audacity to admit they struggle with sin, we repay their honesty with judgment. (“I can’t believe he did that! He shouldn’t be a leader at church.”)
It doesn’t have to be this way. If the world, in its sinfulness, can celebrate the smallest improvement, then the Church, consisting of Christ-followers, can rejoice in the confessions and commitments of others to seek the Lord! In fact, since we are all members of the same body of Christ, it is our duty to uphold one another.
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:26-27 NAS).
Encourage One Another
I challenge you to be transparent—if not with the whole world, then at least with your loved ones. Let them know your triumphs, as well as the areas you are struggling in, and give them the opportunity to encourage you and strengthen you in prayer and support.
Likewise, if you see others sharing their hearts, take a moment to applaud their efforts. Appreciate the courage it took for them to admit they’re not perfect. Lift them up in prayer, asking for the Lord’s guidance and protection as they continue to seek after God’s perfect righteousness.
Remember, we are all part of one body. Let us be sure to encourage one another as we learn to exercise our spiritual muscles.
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13 NAS).