Is Your Christianity Out of Style?

How many of us are still trying the same things we learned to do 5 years ago? Perhaps even 10 years? 20? Even longer? Consider the picture of the handsome young boy trying to put on a shoe that barely goes over his big toe.

How silly is that? His laugh is genuine. At 6 years old, he knows how unbelievably ridiculous it is to try on a shoe meant for a new born. His body is growing and he is constantly trying on new clothes to fit into. He can’t even wear clothes from last year, let alone 5 years ago.

What he knows to be true of his clothes, should be similar with our faith. Are you still wearing last year’s faith? Is your relationship with God sustained over holidays and rare needs you just have to ask for?

We can hardly keep up with technology. Our phones keep changing, our internet keeps growing, the apps keep multiplying. Medicine is ever growing, changing, and educating us in new ways of health, exercise and diet. Our fashions change, not only in trendiness, but fabrics and colors go in and out of season.

Everything around us follows this flow of renewal, refreshing, upgrading, growing, advancing, empowering…. where does your faith stand in the midst?

Is it growing? Is your faith busting at the seams, demanding a new, larger space to hold it? Are we constantly throwing out the old and small because we keep getting bigger and better where it matters most?

Stop trying to squeeze into yesterday’s faith… it shouldn’t fit anymore. Faith is putting on baggy clothes knowing we will grow into them. My mom taught me that growing up. She grew so tired of buying new shoes, I never had a pair that fit. I grew accustomed to walking around in shoes so big that my feet slid around in them.

Guess what happened when my feet grew? Did the shoes finally fit? NO! She bought bigger shoes. It’s time for those safe, comfy shoes that wrap around our toes and gently hug our heals to get tossed. We need bigger shoes to fill! We need uncomfortable room to grow into.

Peter was used to walking on dry ground. When Jesus called him into the water, he had to step into much bigger shoes to be able to stand on the water. And he stood! Even if only momentarily, he stood. Then he raced back to his smaller shoes out of fear and he began to sink. With bigger shoes comes bigger potential and bigger opportunity, but also a requirement to step faithfully in them no matter how they feel.

The biggest shoes of all were worn by Jesus. They went through poverty, wilderness, wedding feasts, celebrations, resurrections, the cross and they finally made it home to the Father in heaven… we are meant to follow in those mammoth footsteps. Did you catch that? It wasn’t all easy. There was some pain in His path. But it lead to the Father.

You can’t get to God in small shoes of faith. Jesus will take us, but only if we follow in His big steps. Jesus constantly praised those with faith. The roman centurion who knew Jesus could command the sickness to leave without entering his home, the men who lowered the paralytic through the roof on a mat, the woman who touched his robe, the other woman who gave her last two mites (all of her money)… faith, faith, faith, faith.

From what I can gather, Jesus will bring us to the Father if we bring the big faith.

What can you do to grow a size today?

Every Diet Will Fail… Unless

The number one reason why diets and weight loss programs fail is because people set themselves up an ending goal.

“I’m going on a diet until I lose 35 pounds!”.

“I want to be able to bench press over 200!”.

“I want to fit into that dress!”

What happens when you are done?  When you meet that weight?  When you fit into that garment?  When your fitness has surpassed expectation?  It’s not that the diet failed… we did.  We met our goal and then returned to the very things that made us fat to begin with.  The weight doesn’t stay off because we changed our diet, exercise and routine… but because we ourselves did not change.  We still cave when the donuts come out at work.  We still pop an extra soda when the day gets long.  We still feel like tomorrow is a better day to exercise than today.  “Mission accomplished!” we may exclaim, but the success is almost always short lived.

Getting the weight off is easy and all manor of trickery can be used to accomplish that.  KEEPING the weight off is not so easy.  It requires an internal change.  You, the person, has to look at life differently.  Motivation can’t be short term.  You must decide that you aren’t dieting… you are changing yourself as a human being.  You know what happens if you give up sweets for a week?  You can’t wait for that week to end so you can dive in and make sweet-angels as they rain down upon you.  (snow angels only in piles of candy).

If you want the weight to stay off, you have to say goodbye to sweets and remove them from your life’s vocabulary.  Insert a never-ending multitude of evidence from those trying to quit smoking, drinking or doing drugs.  It only takes one sip, one puff, one drag to ruin your life again.  So it is equally with the food that is bad for us.  The only people whose bodies change and stay that way, are the ones who transform from the inside out.

I hope that was a sufficient explanation, because its the exact same with our Christianity.  Going to church doesn’t cut it.  Adding a devotional reading isn’t enough.  Read the Bible in a year?  Great!  Then what?  Being a Christian isn’t accomplished by taking on healthy habits for a time.  It starts with an inside-out complete transformation.  And when that is complete, we are so wonderfully remade we want to share it with everyone.  It’s like finding the perfect program that really works.  We want to share.

“hey, everyone, I found the perfect, life changing, heart warming, beautiful thing and it works!  Come see what Jesus did for you!!!!”.  When you invite Jesus into your heart and life, things change.  You don’t decide to stop gossiping for a little while.  No, gossiping becomes offensive to you and you quit because the taste of it is despicable.  Do you relapse?  Sure.  But you don’t cave in and toss out all of the progress like you would on a fad diet.  You pray, you repent and you keep trucking along, maintaining that perfect spirit for the rest of your life.

Am I an expert at dieting?  Have I mastered the new me and forsaken nasty foods and unhealthy habits?  No.  Quite the contrary.  I’ve mastered quitting.  I’ve become an expert with excuses.  I’m in the middle of the quick sand pit, up to my neck, and I’m waving and yelling, ‘Don’t come in!’.  A friend once told me he didn’t accept dieting advice from the ‘experts’.  He wanted to talk to the fat people.  They truly knew about failure.  They experienced first hand what didn’t work.  They understood the struggle and what wall stopped them from excelling.  Let me be your obese guide through the guaranteed biggest failure of them all… trying to be a Christian without a full heart changed by Christ.  Its as devastating as going on a temporary diet without first changing your outlook on food, health and fitness.

I’ve seen the true Christians.  They come teary eyed, faith filled, knees worn, and hands raised for God.  They stumble, but they do not fall.  They sing praise seven days a week and  their love for God is unwavering.  Everything else in their lives moves around their walk with the Savior.  In short… Jesus isn’t a fad and He deserves more than a fad diet.