In the gymnasium, they’re always pushing one another to higher levels of achievement. Unlike a spa, a gymnasium is not a place for leisurely relaxation. It’s a body disciplining facility. In the gymnasium, football players pump iron; wrestlers pound one another into the mat; high jumpers push for the extra inch; basketball players push each other to higher levels of excellence. Regarding the church assembling together, the writer to the Hebrews says,
“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
This stimulating one another, or spurring one another on to higher achievement reminds me of a gymnasium weight room scene I witnessed. The red faced bench presser was straining and wanted to quit lifting the weights. But his spotter (helper) refused to assist him in lifting the bar off his chest and shouted, “Come on! One more! You can do it!” And he did! I’ve seen the same thing in the pool as a swimmer’s teammates cheer him down the home stretch to higher levels of performance. We need to be in churches that stimulate and spur us on to higher levels of godliness
Christians should avoid churches like the contemporary pragmatic types that model themselves after an entertaining theatre, a talent show, a relaxing lounge, a feel-good spa, or a country club. Instead, Christians should become a part of churches that biblically model themselves after a gymnasium.
Resolve not to be satisfied with being a part of a church that is a pampering spa of spiritually flabby, sluggardly professing Christians, who make you feel good, because you fit right in with them. Instead, let’s resolve to seek out a spiritually challenging gym, where Christians have the eye of the tiger, to serve Christ with all their might.
Ah, to be in a church where Christian brothers and sisters come alongside one another and say, “Come on, friend, you can do one more! Don’t quit now! You can get the upper hand on one more sin! You can establish one more godly habit in your life! The Spirit of God will help you do this!” If you can’t help reform your own local church, find and join one, or establish one, that views the church not as spa, but as a gymnasium.Mark Chanski Reformed Baptist Church of Holland