And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:10-14 ESV)
Monday is chest and tricep day in my current workout split. On this given Monday morning it was about 520am and I couldn’t believe the words that came out of this scrawny dudes mouth. I was stunned, in awe that someone could be that arrogant. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn something from anyone, and helpful correction is great but this was just amazing.
Here we were, 3 huge guys lifting heavy weight on the bench press (me, Brian & Ray). We had just moved from a smith machine to the bench, and were now adding super-sets of tricep pushdowns (back to back workouts without break). When a young guy who was literally 1/3 of my size and about the size of Ray’s leg walked over to us and began to correct us on how we were lifting.
He began to tell us, no joke, that if we wanted to have bigger muscles we needed to do the reps like he did. Now, my arm is bigger than his waist and his head was bigger than the gym we were in, but that didn’t stop him from jumping in front of us and loudly telling us and anyone that could here that we were doing the workout wrong.
We were all polite and just nodded after a few moments of looking back and forth at each other in disbelief and thats when it hit me…know your role.
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have been the little guy trying to correct bigger guys, not in the gym but in life.
That guy had probably read a magazine, saw us working out and just thought to correct us without even thinking about the possibility that we have been lifting for years. Brian has been lifting for over a decade and Ray has been a gym rat for over twenty years. The same thing has happened in my life. I get an idea, a moment of brilliance (so I think) and rush to correct those that I feel are not doing it right. Shame on me.
The Pharisees were the kinda people that knew everything about what everyone else should be doing and what they weren’t doing, yet were blind to their own arrogance. In our story, Jesus tells a crowd that it’s what comes out of a man that defiles him, not what goes in. This was a total contradiction to Pharisee teaching as they taught abstinence and prohibitions in everything to avoid being corrupted. They thought they were good and wicked stuff out there polluted them when Christ was teaching it was the exact opposite.
We can easily be blinded by our own muscles.
No I am not talking about biceps, but in the spiritual walk we can think we are better than we are and start acting like pharisees. Christ calls this blind leading the blind. Pharisees were those that thought they knew everything, when in reality they didn’t know jack. Now should we correct sin and uphold justice? Of course, but make sure your in the right before you speak.
You had better have muscles if you’re correcting other people with muscles.
A pet peeve in my own life is when I was younger I thought I was a somebody because of my dad, my last name and my accomplishments. It was only after being torn down time and time again that I realized how weak I was and how that I needed to let God build me up and not my mouth. For me this has meant keeping my mouth shut when people say, write or post things negatively or even if I just disagree with it. This means doing right and not worry about who gets credit or who gets recognized. This means let the other guy bench differently than me and not correct it, because he has bigger muscles than I do and until I can bench how much he is lifting, my mouth stays shut.
The Christian life is not a body building contest.
Have you ever been to a body building show? I workout with Frank, he is a professional body builder who has placed regionally and nationally. He works out two times a day, six days a week so that when he gets on stage he has bigger muscles, a more toned physique and looks better than his opponents. Sadly, most Christians (including myself) fall into this trap of trying to flex bigger than our Christian brothers in an effort to show how strong we are.
If you’re so strong, lift heavier weight.
This is the challenge, if you think you got it, then go lift some weight. Don’t talk about it, preach about it or blog about it, go lift! Go do something! I know guys that are musicians who can sing and play, but they can’t lift. They sure do know how to flex that one muscle, but they aren’t building the body “body-building” of Jesus’s church. I know lots of ministries that love to correct other ministries on form, procedures, & preferences but they are not lifting and the evidence is the ditch they are falling into.
Do you even lift?
The sad thing is that most don’t even lift. Most aren’t even trying and the evidence is a fat, over-weight Christian (spiritually), who is suffering from heart disease (sin), a lack of exercise (obedience), and no passion for the work of God but rather loves to stay home and sleep in instead of go workout (worldliness). Know your role before God, work on obeying and start lifting.
Today, I was back at the gym.