Is there a difference between a fan of Christianity and an active Christian? I think so.
I’m NOT Active by Nature!
“I’m not naturally active like you,” he said as he patted his rotund middle, implying that he had a jiggly belly and I didn’t because of our activity levels.
I laughed. “What makes you think it’s natural?”
“It must be, you walk everywhere, I see you out running, you go on crazy-long hikes, and you mountain bike a lot with your husband.” He shrugged, “Me, I’m not athletic, nor am I good at any of those things.”
I demurred. The label ‘athlete’ didn’t fit my narrative of myself—the awkward, uncoordinated kid who always got chosen last for kickball and dodgeball in elementary school.
Having someone slap the ‘active’ label on me didn’t feel any more natural. My default mode involves curling up with a good book for hours at a time while munching on decadent (but slightly healthy) brownies. Left to my natural state, I would stay at home for days at a time just reading and eating.
Our conversation made me realize a universal truth: We choose to be active. It has nothing to do with how much time we have in a day, a week, a month, or a year. Our activities depend on our choices.
I choose to seek health, therefore, I do the necessary in order to stay fit. That means I walk to work, I park in the back forty of every store’s parking lot, and I take the stairs instead of the elevator. I run, hike, and bike. When I sit, it’s usually on a yoga ball so I can bounce.
These things, done over time, have become habits. Habits that make people think I am a naturally active person. Looks can deceive.
Active Christians don’t always Preach with Words
“I’m not a Christian like you,” she said, as she shook her head and then winced at the pain of her hangover. “That’s why you don’t get hangovers.”
“Who told you I was a Christian?” At sixteen, I still struggled with my identity in Christ, and shied away from proclaiming my heritage.
“I can tell by the way you treat people,” she said, “and the way you don’t swear and curse like everyone else at work.”
I didn’t deny what she said. Ever since the summer I turned 14, I had tried to follow God and had given my life to him, but I had no idea that it showed. My choice had changed my actions. The time I spent reading my Bible and journaling my confusion and angst had unforeseen results.
My natural default leans more towards self-indulgence and pampering my own whims, not asking God what he wants me to do. But daily study and communication with God helps me form new habits. Habits that almost forty years later seem as natural as breathing.
I have no inherent goodness, just like I have no inherent athleticism. When I make a choice, I can pursue it doggedly. The pursuit requires a daily decision, and grace when I revert to my default nature.
My choice to follow Jesus requires that I remain active in my pursuit. I must read, study, communicate, and listen. Daily. Otherwise, I’m just a fan of Christianity, not an active Christian. When hard times come, fans turn fickle and flee.
I choose to seek Christ, even though I can’t see him.
“For we live by believing and not by seeing.”2 Corinthians 5:7
I allow him to make a new person out of me on a daily basis (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus offers new life to all of us—we only have to choose him.
Fan or Fanatic?
I want to take back the word ‘fanatic’ when it applies to Christianity. According to Websters, the positive definition of ‘fanatic’ looks like this:
: a person who is extremely enthusiastic about and devoted to some interest or activity.Mirriam-Webster Dictionary
I don’t want to just talk about Christianity, I want the results of my choices to spill out in enthusiastic love for everyone (not just people who like, think, and act like me). Will you j