LESSONS LEARNED IN A GYM – “STRUTTING YOUR STUFF ISN’T ENOUGH!”

Biceps bulge, abs are tight and that walk is very deliberate and obvious. There are a few who haunt the local gym with the purpose of showing off their body building physique. I suppose that they work out sometime, but mostly you see them walking around slowly, just daring anyone to compare their body to the strutting specimen of total workout perfection. You kinda figure these people live in the gym and have nowhere else to go!

Of course, it’s not just in the gym where those with a statement to make about their self-worth strut their stuff. There are those with modified late model sports cars, sporting mega sound systems, and throaty exhaust pipes. There are ladies with the latest fashion in clothes, shoes and make-up. Others seek to top the rest of the pack when it comes to collections, Christmas yard lights, sports gear, fantasy ball teams, and on and on.

Strutting your stuff comes naturally to the human heart that somehow has to scream out that “I am significant. I deserve to be noticed. I have achieved more than the lesser mortals in my universe. I am almost godlike.”

Oh Lord, deliver me, when I am tempted to “strut my stuff.” For “my stuff” is never enough. No matter how I compare myself to someone else, there is no lifting myself up through comparison to ever demonstrate that I have arrived and I am worthy of exaltation in any way.

Jesus knew all about the futility of “strutting your stuff.” He told a story that brought it all home. “He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”
Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 18:9-14 (Message)

Next time you are at church and you see someone “Strutting their stuff,” don’t get too discouraged over your personal spiritual physique. Just remember, life in Christ is not a contest to see who can look the most spiritual. It is just a time to say, “Lord, it’s me. Parts of my life are a little flabby. But I am willing to work out in God’s gym. Be my trainer. Walk me through the workouts I need to grow and develop in Your image. And all along the way, help me remember, Your grace is enough.”

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