“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)
Athletes know what it means to Show Up. Be it on the track, the court, or field, to Show Up means that you come ready to work. Every practice is a chance to step up, improve, learn, and maximize the value in themselves and the program they represent. Every game is a chance to prove their hard work, show off what they’ve been working to accomplish, and, yes, improve some more.
I am very familiar with this concept. I had the privilege of running track for The Georgia Institute of Technology on a full scholarship. I had a love-hate relationship with track and field. I loved to see improvements, I loved to win, but I hated putting in the work. It was hard; it was exhausting, and it hurt most all the time. But it was necessary.
It was not enough to be physically present at practice because I was obligated. I had to be present in mind and emotion as well. I wanted to be part of that team, I wanted my scholarship and I wanted to be excellent. For all of those reasons, being physically present was necessary. And, for all those reasons, being mentally and emotionally present was also necessary. I just needed to get there.
It’s easy to be little more than a warm body in most rooms in life beyond athletics. We can be physically present with friends, family, our children, yet the thoughts in our minds are far off. We can find ourselves just going through the motions of church attendance, Bible study, maybe reading the Bible independently and praying because it’s the “Christian” thing to do. But when we walk away, we’re left feeling unfulfilled or on a temporary “high”.
Living a fulfilled life with God requires more intentionality and effort sometimes than we realize. It requires us to be present in prayer, actively listening for what God is teaching us through church attendance and other experiences, and then choosing to put what we’ve learned into practice when the time comes.
Every moment is an opportunity to connect deeper with God – when you acknowledge the presence of His Holy Spirit who is with you wherever you are; when you openly give yourself to God in worship and look to receive from Him a word, confirmation or whatever you need to keep moving forward; and when you are intent on moving out of that time with something to implement. Take a key point to meditation on and revisit over and over again.
When we make the conscious choice to Show Up in these moments, the time spent changes from transactional to transformational. It literally becomes time spent building a mutual relationship with God that carries over to every other aspect of life.
The Holy Spirit works through us in this way. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He lives in us (Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:9). That means we live life every day with God living our life (Galatians 2:20). So, when we Show Up guess who else shows up. Even by being mentally present and engaged in the grocery store, we allow the Holy Spirit to make eye contact with others, be kind and smile through us. When we are mentally and emotionally engaged in everyday life (be it favorable or unfavorable), Jesus is also present to do His work.
Let’s not be people who merely honor God with our lips yet keep our hearts from him. Let’s engage our hearts and minds with Him, be always aware of His presence, be intentional about doing what His Word says, and choose to love all others so that He can love them through us.
In what specific ways can you Show Up in your faith today?