Joining the Gym Doesn’t Mean I’m in Better Shape
For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? 1 Corinthians 3:4
Most of us have experienced the disappointment of buying into something that we thought was going to change our fitness level, only to find that it did not. Maybe it was a friend or a commercial, but we saw the results someone else got with a piece of exercise equipment or a gym and we wanted that. So, we bought in, only to find that the monetary exchange didn’t automatically result in fat loss and muscle gain. Joining the gym technically makes me a member, but if I want transformation, I must participate, daily putting in the hard work. I can be a member and still sit at home, doing nothing and changing nothing.
We often get this wrong as Christians. When I realized I was addicted to drugs, I honestly, was a little dumbfounded. How could this happen? I can’t be an addict, I’m a Christian! I’d previously just assumed that being a Christian shielded me from such life disasters. I had good reasons to think this way. Paul himself wrote that, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). A few verses prior to today’s passage, he also said that as Christians, we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). It’s easy to get the impression from such teachings, that the believer is automatically cut off from the old life when he comes to faith.
It’s not uncommon for me to run into this kind of teaching even in churches. Occasionally, when I talk about the Christian struggling with his flesh or sin nature, I’ll find pastors who push back, insisting that the Christian no longer has a self-destructive nature.
In today’s passage, Paul dispels such thinking. In it, he did indeed say that as Christians, the Corinthians had the mind of Christ. Still though, they followed their old flesh nature, behaving in a human way, indulging in jealousy, strife, and conflict. They had access to Christ, but they chose to remain in their old life. They’d joined the ranks of Christianity, becoming members, but they’d not participated and so, they weren’t experiencing transformation.
Here’s the question for us. Are we just members, or do we actually participate? If we’re tired of the old life and if want to see growth and transformation, then we must daily show up, actively pursuing the life God wants for us. Faith, like the gym, is not a spectator sport.