Andrea and I read about a woman in our daily devotion who really struggled to go to the gym because how bad she felt around all the fit and chiselled bodies working out. She felt so awkward and uncomfortable looking at her own body around the muscular and toned gym users. So the place that this woman needed to be and could really help her became a place that actually drove her away and was very unhelpful. Gyms should be places for people trying to lose weight and they should be places where they feel comfortable and welcomed and accepted. Just like hospitals should be places where sick people feel they will get the help they need rather than being embarrassed because their appendix burst.
It got me thinking about our spiritual “fitness” and how church should not be a place where broken people or “unspiritual” people feel uncomfortable around “buff” super spiritual Christians who have everything together. Jesus said that he came for the sick not the healthy and he spent time with unpretentious sinners with messed up lives. That is not to say we don’t want people to become spiritually mature, but rather we want to be supporting and encouraging people who are seeking God to feel they belong and are welcome at Parkside Baptist Church. Being broken and a bit messed up is a very good reason to come to God among his people. Anyone who thinks they are spiritually together or superior and comes to do some “spiritual posing” is on dangerous ground. Jesus made that very clear to the religious leaders in his day. He also preached the sermon on the mount where he talked about how blessed those are who are struggling with life. So echoing that teaching we say:
Blessed are those who are stressed – find your rest in Jesus.
Blessed are those who are anxious – find your peace in Jesus.
Blessed are those who feel unworthy – you are deeply loved by God.
Blessed are those who barely make it to church – you are welcome and we are so glad you made it!
Blessed are those who feel fragmented – Jesus wants to gently restore you.
So if you feel “spiritually unfit” but you want to grow closer to God, then you are in exactly the right place and very welcome in the courts of our Saviour and King, who opens wide his nail scarred hands with a smile on his face.
Grace and Peace – Garry