Eat Like an Athlete
Eat Like an Athlete
A friend of mine used to tell me about his health journey. In college he had been a champion weightlifter, and thus, was in great physical shape. After his schooling years, he went to work in the “real world,” and over the course of time packed on about seventy pounds of extra weight and started having some health difficulties. Eventually he figured out what the main problem was. Before, he was training like a college athlete, therefore he had to eat like a college athlete. After, he was still eating like a college athlete, but he was no longer training like one. He was consuming massive amounts of calories without doing the necessary action to burn them off.
Sometimes this same imbalance can happen to us on a spiritual level. Christians frequently talk about “feeding on God’s word,” and the Bible backs up that imagery with several metaphors of feasting: “milk” (1 Pet 2:2), “meat” (1 Cor 3:2), “bread” (Deu 8:3), and “sweeter than honey” (Ps. 119:103). It is a serious task to make sure we are filling our minds with the spiritual food that God has provided with scripture. But to what end? Why does God want us to feast upon his rich revelations? Answer: So that we will be properly fueled to live an active life of faithfulness to him. Our ability to carry the gospel, defend truth, understand the necessity of doing good to others, etc. are all predicated on the teachings we find in the Bible. Understanding the hows and whys of the Christian life requires that we are consuming the word of God regularly.
Yet, there are some Christians whose lives look a lot more like that of my post-college friend. They feed on God’s word but do very little to put that spiritual “fuel” to work. They show up for worship and Bible class, but rarely step up when the time comes for service work and volunteering. Such a life is the spiritual equivalent to “eating like a college athlete, but not training like one.” It is an imbalance that misses the point of the feast. Feeding on God’s word is supposed to fuel us for spiritual exercise and living. Like all activity without proper feeding makes us waste away, to study and not do makes us spiritually unhealthy and lazy.
So then, may we heed the words of James. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas 1:22). Let us feast hungrily on the word of God, savoring the milk and the meat of the word, and delighting in its honey-sweetness. But let us feast with the right goal in mind…to be properly fueled for the exercise God intends for us to do.
Eat like an athlete, train like an athlete.