The greatest threat to American lives is heart disease. And, according to WebMD, one of the greatest risk factors of heart disease is physical inactivity. In college, I was able to study Exercise Physiology under Dr. Priest. He had worked to develop a piece of exercise equipment that quadriplegics and paraplegics could use to increase muscle mass and improve the blood flow through their entire body. This would in turn strengthen their hearts and help them to not only live longer, but to have a better quality of life. Simply getting their body moving against some sort of resistance helped to grow muscles in their legs.
The flip side to this is also true. Astronauts have to take special care to exercise appropriately in space where the resistance of gravity does not exist. If they don’t, they will be in danger of suffering muscle atrophy – a decreasing of muscle mass.
For another example of muscle atrophy due to inactivity see ‘COUCH POTATO.’ Everyone knows one, right? And most can empathize with them; I know I can. There are many times when I don’t feel like being productive with my time. I just want to sit on the couch, munch on some chips, and watch TV. I just need to zone out and get some Matt-time to recoup, right?
In my life, inactivity has never been a motivator to get up and get moving. It only encourages me to remain inactive for longer.
Ephesians 2:8-9 are popular memory verses, and for good reason:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
But, have you also seen Ephesians 2:10?
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
We believe the Bible when it says that we cannot be saved by our own works—they will never be good enough. If they were, we wouldn’t need to trust in Jesus. BUT, we are not saved to be couch potatoes. We are saved to walk, or to live life daily, doing the good works He saved us to do.
Colossians 2:6-7 says it this way:
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
We are thankful Jesus saved us. We want to please Him with how we live the lives He gave us. To do this we must ‘walk in Him’. This means we must be active in obedience to Jesus.
But there is a problem. This takes work. It takes endurance. It takes intentionality. It takes time.
Christian, if you desire to live the abundant life Jesus came and lived and died and rose to give you, then you must faithfully choose to live in obedience to His word. You have to get off the couch and get in the game. Each day. Every day.
In the same way that living like a couch potato will breed inactivity and quickly develop into a habitually lazy lifestyle, being intentionally active will also lead to habitually living an active lifestyle.
The same is true in walking with the Lord. If we only think about the Lord on Sundays, we are spiritual couch potatoes. If we only pray and read the Bible when we are in trouble, we are lazy believers. If we do not intentionally order our lives to be willingly obedient to the commands of our Savior (to go make disciples of all nations), then we will develop a habit of inactivity. The Bible says that we will be useless due to being fruitless.
BUT, thank the Lord for Philippians 2:12-13:
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
We are to work out our salvation. We are to be obedient servants for the Lord who saved us. And the great thing is that He promises to be active in our lives, in order to motivate us to be active as well. The Lord says He will work in us, through the Holy Spirit, to have a desire to work for His good pleasure.
Laziness and inactivity can stifle the prompting of the Holy Spirit to share the gospel with our neighbors or coworkers. We will become less and less motivated to endure hardships for the furtherance of the gospel. We will be lazy about encouraging other believers or serving in our local church.
But, when we act in humble obedience, we exercise our faith muscle (James 1:2-4) and we get stronger and more motivated to obey. We gradually become more like our humble, obedient Savior, Jesus Christ.
Here are some quick things you can do to get active:
- Pray for encouragement and opportunity to obey—God will faithfully give these to you.
- Identify your spiritual gift and use it in your local church—If you need help with this, see your pastor.
- Start memorizing scripture. Start with one of the smaller New Testament books—James or Philippians and go a paragraph at a time. In a month or two you can get through an entire book. And get a partner to help encourage you in this.
- Pray for the Lord to bring someone to disciple you and for you to disciple.
- Look for people you can share the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ with.
You will never lose your salvation, because it is a gift—it was not earned, and it cannot be lost. But if you want to please the Lord with the life He gave you, then get off the couch. Get moving!