I flipped a tire,.
Actually I flipped a tire THREE TIMES!
I’ll pause for you applause.
Here’s how it went down.
I was at the gym, the trainer and I were talking about different exercises and here’s what I tell him, “look I don’t want to tell you how to do your job or anything, but I want to flip a tire.”
He pointed at me, “You want to flip a tire?!?”
“Yeah, I want to flip a tire!”
So he rolled out one of those giant tractor tires that had been mocking me for the past several months and I proceeded to flip that sucker like a pancake (if the pancake were a giant tire and it took every ounce of my strength to flip it).
Would you like to know what possessed me to flip said tire?
I thought it would be cool.
I had seen all these super hip athletes flipping tires on commercials, and they just seemed so invincibly cool. I wanted to feel that way. Clearly the only way to get that feeling was to flip a tire.
This is how I felt when I decided to try fasting.
Several years ago, when I was much younger (and dumber), I thought that fasting would be cool to try. In fact the exchange that I had with myself about fasting sort of sounded like the conversation the trainer and I had.
“Look, I’m ready to try this fasting thing.”
My stomach growled at me, “You want to try fasting?!?”
“Yeah, I want to fast.”
And Jesus face palmed…
Guess how successful that was? Oh it was an abysmal failure. I decided to work out that day at noon, no food, no nourishment. My trainer at the time was an older gentleman that I feel pretty confident knew the Lord, and I will never forget the look he gave me when he found out I was fasting. I was laying on the ground, unable to move, and this was only after like 5 minutes of the workout. He asked me what was wrong with me and I told him I was fasting; he just shook his head.
Sort of like those darn Pharisees.
Those guys did lots of things because they were trying to appear cool. In fact, the Pharisees also fasted BUT they only fasted on Market days, so everyone could see how cool and pious they were.
They didn’t fast because they wanted to draw closer to God, they fasted because they thought fasting made them cool.
And they wanted everyone else to know how cool they were.
Jesus wasn’t impressed though; in fact, he had some pretty strong words for those guys.
Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogue and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without even knowing.”
Luke 11: 43-44
Jesus, delivering the truth like a straight up BOSS.
Here’s the thing, following Jesus, being a Christian, isn’t about appearing cool…
Or appearing holy…
Or appearing righteous.
God isn’t interested in what your outwardly appearance looks like.
You dressing up for church on Sunday doesn’t make God happy.
You carrying around a fancy Bible in a fancy Bible cover doesn’t make Jesus smile.
You being able to sing all of Chris Tomlin songs won’t make the Holy Spirit dance.
It’s the ‘why’ that matters.
Why are you going to church? Are you going because you are seeking God’s word among God’s people?
Why are you carrying around your Bible? Are you going to open it up and read it? Are you going to share a scripture with one of your friends?
Do you just like they way your voice sounds when you sing Good, Good Father, or do you sing it because it magnifies the love you have for your Abba Father in Heaven?
The ‘why’ matters.
And sometimes the ‘why’ takes time.
Take my fasting for instance. I had been a Christian for a couple of years, just a baby really. I understood ‘what’ fasting was, we had done a couple of teachings on it, but I wasn’t ready for the ‘why’ yet. That’s why it failed. I was focused on changing my behavior- not my heart.
The ‘why’ is heart changing.
I can manipulate my behaviors for a little while. But if I haven’t had a heart change, if I don’t understand the ‘why’– there’s a very good chance those changes won’t stick.
So the next time you decide you want to do something super Christian because it seems impressive. Take a step back and figure out why doing that is important to your faith. Spend some time on your knees asking God for the ‘why’ and get that settled in your heart before you start working on the behavior.
Unless of course, it’s flipping a tire to feel cool.
In that instance, for me, the tire did not disappoint.