Lately, I’ve been noticing that most of the things that God created for believers are pretty unattractive on the outside.
Think about it. Baptism is really really awkward. Reading the bible never seems that important or fun. Church often feels stale or sticky. Solitude is always down on our list. Fasting, by definition, is the opposite of what we want. Choosing to build community with imperfect people and their messy lives is a call to suffer.
On the face of it, the things God commands us to do have very little that appeals to the eye. These disciplines don’t speak readily to our desires – our need for comfort, pleasure, affirmation, meaning, significance or sense of fashion.
The irony, however, is that the velvet is on the inside. The awkward baptism is followed by the most amazing smile of satisfaction. The boring routine of scripture reading ignites our minds and becomes a channel by which God speaks to our hearts. Church, as uncool as it is, is what we were made for. Those that invest themselves in the body of Christ quickly learn that they are more themselves when committed to a ministry than when they are not. Solitude grounds us and teaches us to listen, slow down and enjoy the basics of life. I have found few people who end up regretting spending time alone with God in nature. Fasting is one of the few things that creates humility and reliance on God. And, lastly, however messy people are, we can’t grow, be healed or mature in isolation from other people. We require community.
The blessing follows the commitment.
The rewards are for those who obey.
If we look for compelling reasons to commit ourselves to the things of God, we do well to walk a mile before demanding justification. We do well to walk by faith and close our eyes until its time to open them.
Things might look unattractive on the outside, but the velvet is on the inside.