‘How are you exercising your love?’
I’m going to make a confession to you: I hate to exercise. It’s such a hassle, takes up regular time when I think I could be doing something more fun or at least more useful than getting sweaty and tired with unnecessary exertion.
My brothers exercise a lot and when they ask me to join in a jog I usually find an excuse to beg off and feel a little smug when they come back panting while I’ve been comfortably reading or watching something on TV.
But I’m going to make another confession to you: I love to exercise. When I actually get up the energy and gumption to go out and do it, I enjoy it. I love the feeling of the muscles at work, letting my body do some of the things it was designed for. There’s what is called the runner’s high, almost a euphoria, which is apparently your brain producing endorphins, the process of which makes you feel good. After I’ve done it and taken my shower, I always feel so much better. But then the next day when my brother asks me to join him, I’ll usually say ‘No, maybe next time.’ At a recent retreat with pastors, I made a confession that a similar thing happens in my daily devotions and all of them agreed with me.
It sometimes seems to be a hassle to take time out to read God’s word, to meditate and pray, so sometimes we’ll skip it, take a couple extra minutes in bed. But when we do devotions, we get so much out of it and feel so much better. It’s not smug self-satisfaction — we actually feel better just like after we exercise. Like exercise, it’s something we were designed for, to have communion with God, and when we do something we were designed for, we do feel better. And we’re designed to love.
Have you noticed that you can almost predict exactly what people will say after they’ve come back from a mission trip? It might have been tough, they might have suffered hardships or even heartbreak from seeing poverty or need, but every single person comes back saying they got so much more out of it than they gave.
As Jesus told his disciples the night before his crucifixion, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 16:34-35) We are designed to love. How are you exercising your love?
Rev. Dale Brown is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian Churches. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.