When I was 19 I moved to San Luis Obispo (SLO) and lost 30 pounds in a year without trying. I honestly had no idea I was unhealthy before. I look back at pictures on Facebook and laugh at the transformation I didn’t know was happening. San Luis Obispo, California’s best kept secret and known now as the happiest place on earth, is a health mecca. I moved in with six roommates (four as far as the landlord was concerned…it was college) who introduced me to “the SLO life.” Running Bishop’s Peak, skimboarding at Avila Beach, perusing the various farmers’ markets…it all just became a part of my routine, my liturgy of life. Seriously, no one smoked (unless of course it was a party, and then it usually wasn’t cigarettes). And I became healthier and happier even as life circumstances actually became more complicated and challenging.
Now if you simply followed my “advice” for getting in shape and moved to SLO, it might work and it might not. It depends on whether or not you actually committed to the community and adopted the SLO lifestyle, right?
So what insights might this analogy carry for the church, the community of the Jesus life? I’ll just ask you…first, have you actually packed up and moved? Have you really left behind the city lights of your old life? Or have you just baptized it by adding some religious activities? Have you been transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son? And if so, are you sitting in the pews or on the couch waiting to get in shape, or have you moved in with a small, diverse group of roommates who stretch you and get you outside to live the Jesus life? Consider trusting Jesus and diving into the mess, and you might just become healthy without even “trying.”
Are you spiritually unhealthy? Are you burnt out trying to run trails on your own in a lifeless concrete jungle? Consider moving.