I received a fitness watch for my birthday, the kind with lots of embedded programs, monitors, flashing lights, alarms, and who knows what else. Basically, I’m interested in the pedometer feature that continually counts my steps. I’m one of those 10,000-steps-a-day people, combining some running, walking, stairs, and maybe even a little biking on occasion.
One of the more interesting features is the heart rate monitor. Now I know at any given moment what my heart is up to, whether it’s beating quickly or slowly or somewhere in between.
The first time I tapped the screen to see this information in bar graph format—by the day, week, and month—the thought hit me: What if we had watches that showed us the spiritual condition of our hearts? Possibly we could have a graph with dark red for a really passionate heart following hard after God, pale yellow for a half-hearted showing, and blue for a cold heart. What would my bar graph look like under these measurements?
In a sense, God has given us something by which we can gauge our profession—He’s given us the mirror of His Word. We always talk about reading our Bibles, but if we’re honest, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that our Bibles read us? And what story do we tell by the way we live our lives?
Sometimes when describing a person to a friend I use the expression “what you see is what you get.” I enjoy the company of people like that. Then there’s the person who reminds me of a child wearing a storm trooper mask on Halloween. No one for a minute really believes that child is a storm trooper; he or she is simply pretending to be such a character. Sadly, we probably all know people who don the mask of Christianity but deny that profession by everything they do and say.
There are lots of things out there that have the appearance of religion or spirituality. Just a little time on Pinterest or Instagram will provide plenty of evidence of this. “Just Believe” or “Have Faith” or some other pithy word graphic arrives in my email from these sites regularly.
So what is it I’m suppose to believe? And in whom or what am I being told to anchor my faith? There is no refuge for me in empty, meaningless words, no matter how well intentioned they are, or how artistically they are adorned. Yes, many people claim to be on a “faith journey,” but journeys take us to a particular destination, and that destination is arrived at through the use of a road map, unless we’re just wandering around aimless or lost.
The Bible only speaks of one kind of faith journey, and the path is Christ Himself. True faith is trusting ourselves unreservedly to Christ in order that we may be saved—saved from sin, saved from ourselves, saved from the wrath of God, and saved for God’s glory.
Genuine faith will always evidence itself in obedience to the Word of God, not perfectly but patently. In spite of our missteps, fumbles, and inconsistencies, God will work out His perfect plan through us because He has promised to complete the good work He began when we first believed.
I may not have a tangible spiritual fitness watch, but I’m hoping my birthday present will be a reminder that the spiritual condition of my heart is a lot more important than the number of heartbeats I experience per minute. And as the Bible reads my heart each day, I’d like to think the dark red bars are on the increase, gradually nudging those pale yellow and blue bars to the sidelines, making their presence barely perceptible.