So P90X is all the rage right now.
From what I understand (ahem), it’s all about “muscle confusion”: when you do certain exercises over and over, your body actually adapts to the routine, and eventually you begin to lose some of the benefits of your workout. In order to avoid this you need to keep your muscles “confused” by constantly varying your workout and introducing new exercises.
A professional faith also needs “muscle confusion” in a way.
One of the phrases pastors constantly hear is, “Well, I’m not a _________ person,” where that blank space is occupied by words like, “Bible”, “worship”, “service”, “tithing”, “solitude”, “community”, etc.
People are constantly identifying and declaring their “natural wiring”: how God has naturally wired them.
This is a good thing.
The thing is, as I hear people say (for instance), “Well I don’t really share my junk because I’m not really a community person,” sometimes I think is our faith really based on, “I’m not really?” Is it only based on who we are, or is it based on who we are capable of becoming?
I think identifying our natural inclinations and paths for spiritual growth is absolutely invaluable, but if we’re not careful we surrender growth for remaining comfortable in those paths.
And I don’t think that’s what God intends.
All the great religions—Christianity included—are not based on us merely being what we are but on challenging us to be MORE than what we are.
And to be honest, I want that. I need that.
And so here enters the concept of muscle confusion.
A professional faith demands that we not get too comfortable in our daily or weekly disciplines. Growth demands that we stretch ourselves, meaning we engage in pathways and efforts that may feel alien or strange to us.
So community people: choose solitude every once and a while.
Bible people: make sure you are going on mission trips (both local and global).
Service people: make sure you are reading your Bible.
Make no mistake: these will feel uncomfortable, but that’s the point. Spiritual activity that becomes too rote and routine runs the risk of losing its effectiveness.
So to review (and to paint in broad strokes), a professional faith:
- Isn’t governed by emotionalism, but shows up, day after day, to do the work of spiritual growth.
- Has a plan and engages in tools it needs to grow.
- Isn’t afraid to occasionally shake things up in order to get out of routine.
Keep on growing.