On the outside I like to think that I am in pretty decent shape. I pride myself in taking care of my body; I go to the gym at least once a day and keep up my conditioning and strength. I have long believed that the body we are given is a gift, and we are charged with trying to allow it to operate at its highest potential. My diet could admittedly use some work, but still, I am overall very happy with where I stand physically. Shoot, I’ve even been called sexy. All of this being said, I think that if you looked at my spiritually body you would see a very overweight man. I would have a very weak immune system, always be sick with something, and never really put a good, disciplined effort forward in attempting to improve my health. But God forbid you see that. It wouldn’t be sexy.
We are told to not do good things in order to try and garner praises for ourselves, or to try and “spiritually boast” to other people. I love this notion. We should only be doing good for the sake of the good. Loving for the sake of loving. And it always makes me laugh (at myself more often than not) because I envision an obese person trying to vainly impress people with how he looks whenever I approach a ‘good’ or ‘decent’ act in an attention mongering manner. That is the equivalent of spiritual boasting. Physical and material vanity and pride are bad enough, but when we try and fool people into praising how “good” of a person we are when we are really spiritually fat is something we are all guilty of. We talk the talk of a walk we can’t even fathom, in a language we don’t even understand!
And so Lent falls on us. A reminder to reach out to the only spiritual supplement capable of making us beautiful: God. There are things that keep us healthy, things that keep us secure, and things that protect us. And all of these things are second to God in the true order of things. There are also indulgences, pleasures, even temptations we revel in. These too come second (contrary to our motivations oh so often). The notion of giving up something for Lent isn’t just for reaping the benefits of not participating in a negative act. It is to acknowledge what truly takes first place in our lives. If we buy into reflection on and of God throughout all of our actions, the health, security and protection will follow. We will find joy in following through on actions that will afford us all those, for the greater glory of God.
God isn’t a dummy. He created the world, our bodies, and the universe in such a complex and awesome fashion! There are certain things that line up; biologically, scientifically, socially, spiritually, if we do them the right way. We should be worried about saving the bodies that matter most: our spiritual ones, and the spiritual ones of everyone in our community. And God is the one we must fall before in order to do that. And if you are worried about saving anything else, health, security, beauty, protection, happiness, don’t worry, those are all included. It’s a deluxe package deal. And it’s free. You just have to read the instructions.
Don’t worry, they’re simple: Love God, Love each other. The side affects of those actions will take care of everything you are worrying about. I want to approach this Lenten season with that mindset, not to prove to myself that I can give up pop for 40 days, but because that mindset is the only one truly worth having.