Straight Outta Sardis

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Rev. 3:1-6


I recently joined a gym, and I didn’t even do it for the blog material, y’all.

Turns out, when you join this particular gym, you get a free session with a personal trainer. I knew this was about them trying to sell me the services of someone far more dedicated to physical fitness than I am, but it was free, and I’ve always wanted to be able to use the phrase “my personal trainer,” even if only for a day. So I went.

This is where the story gets a little fuzzy for me. It’s hard to remember how it all went down exactly, because about 10 minutes into the workout with my personal trainer, I became parched, dizzy, and somewhat nauseous. I do remember her telling me that my face had changed to a whitish hue and asking me what I had eaten that morning. Also, she wanted to know how much water I normally drink, and seemed overly concerned about hydration; which is weird, because I know for a fact I’d had at least 3 and maybe even 4 Coke Zeroes the day before.

It’s really not my fault. In our pre-workout talk, I told her what a sedentary lifestyle I live. I’m a writer, and sometimes sit at the computer for 10 hours straight, only getting up for the Chick-fil-A drive thru.

But it must have been tricky. Genetics gave me a lean frame; add to that my spunky workout clothes, athletic inclination, strong 10-minute showing on the leg press, and sunny disposition, and at first glance, I might seem somewhat fit.

I am not fit.

Clearly, she overestimated my physical abilities based on appearance. And so it was a middle-aged-woman-passing-out-one-sixth-of-the-way-into-her-workout just waiting to happen.

straightouttasardisIn terms of a place like LA Fitness, the church at Sardis was filled with Christians who seemed to be fit and lively, but were, in reality, about to pass out. On the outside, they looked alright. After all, they had been full of strength and energy in the past.

Jesus wasn’t fooled, though. He knew all about their sedentary lives, and neglect of the Holy Spirit they’d been given. But He wasn’t finished with them yet. There was still more work left to do; work that wouldn’t be completed if they didn’t wake up and strengthen what little spiritual muscle they had left.

I love the emphasis on Acts 2:42-47 there is in the church today. But the thing is, you can’t be Acts 2 if you’re happy and content in Sardis. Just like I can’t run through leg day with someone 20 years younger who spends her time in the gym, we can’t demonstrate the strength of the early church if, at our core, we are weak and listless in faith.

The good news is, change is possible. When we decide we will not tolerate our unhealthy spiritual state any longer, and turn from the appearance of true religion (neglecting the Spirit) to the reality of it (being filled by the Spirit), we’ll find a revival of Acts 2, even right here in Sardis.

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