Jesus logged lots of miles.
I started running this year, and I’ve been able to track my progress by using a couple different apps on my phone. Currently I’ve run about 120 miles, which kind of blows mind (no wait, actually it really blows my mind!).
But my progress is not much considering how much Jesus and his disciples must have logged around Palestine and Judea. If you read the gospels, Jesus is forever taking his little band of followers on day trips, teaching and telling stories as they go.
They must have walked for hours every day.
I was thinking this morning about what that says about following Jesus. I think in many peoples’ minds “being a Christian” is something that you do on Sunday morning, or when you’re at church, or in your small group, or whatever. The picture that the gospels show us, however, is a faith that is worked out while you’re walking.
It’s as if Jesus goes to great lengths to show that the spiritual life is infinitely practical: it can be lived out amidst the dusty roads of Palestine, or the cubical walls of your job, or the desks of your classroom.
Unfortunately, this sometimes run counter to how many churches approach the spiritual life. Institutionalized religion says that the spiritual life can only be lived out through “safe places” like Sunday school classrooms, baptism services, or comforting worship services. In this model, Jesus never would have left the Temple or the synagogue: he would have kept his disciples in the safe, “spiritual” places where “God lived.”
But he didn’t. He was constantly saying, “You know what would be awesome right now? To take a walk! Let’s go!!”
(I’m sure Peter rolled his eyes; trust me.)
At this point in my life I’m really not interested in spirituality that has no daily, ground-level expression. Not interested in doctrines that are merely abstract. If there are truths about God (and I believe there are), they should have tangible expression in our lives. Our doctrines and beliefs—the incarnation; the resurrection; a God of mercy, grace and transformation; the Church—don’t belong in seminaries or temples. They belong at our breakfast tables, in our cars, in our meetings, in our workouts, etc. etc.
One of the most challenging questions we can ask ourselves is, “How do my beliefs impact my daily, moment-to-moment life?”
- Am I living as if I have the mind of Christ?
- Am I truly living out the resurrection?
- Am I upholding the value of the “called people of God” (the church)?
- Am I treating my physical reality—creation, my body, etc.—as if God really did come to earth and become a human being just like me?
Jesus didn’t keep his spirituality tucked away in the “God-places.” He brought the God into the every day places.
And yes, this song still rocks.