22 Oct 2015
Diet and exercise—two words a lot of people don’t like to hear. It’s a pain to cut down on our favorite foods—especially if they have a lot of calories and are particularly delicious. And sometimes it’s a real chore to get on the treadmill and work off some of those extra pounds. But, you know, that’s why we diet and exercise: to cut off—to divide off—those extra pounds and make us healthier.
And the spiritual equivalent is, I suppose, repentance and conversion. It’s a lot of work to cut down on gossip, or laziness or apathy toward others, or whatever makes us less than Christ-like. But that’s why Christ came: to help us shed our “spiritual fat” and make us healthy in mind and heart. He came to “divide us;” to get rid of what weighs us down and boost what’s good in us.
So often, we pray: “Come, Holy Spirit.” Or we pray: “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Or we hear psalms like the one today: “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.” But, you know, it’s a radical thing to really pray: “Come, Holy Spirit.” It’s a daring thing to actually hope in the Lord, and it’s life-altering to actually look for God’s Will to be done.
It’s a brave thing to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit of Christ because he’s going to come and divide us on the inside. He’s going to praise us for the good things, and he’s going to show us (gently) the parts of ourselves that can use some work. He’s going to come and “divide us.” But that’s okay; and that’s good. In order to be better people, every now and then we need a little spiritual “diet and exercise."
And so we pray: “Come, Holy Spirit. Burn off the fat of sin. And make us lean in fidelity to God.”