I’ve been a pastor for 15 years now, and 20 years as a born again Christian. Before that I was a hypocrite - reading the Bible, but not living it in my life. The great thing is that every day on this road of sanctification I’m learning, growing and allowing the Holy Spirit to refine me.
What I’ve realised is that consistency is a key. I’ve become more aware of this as I’ve joined the gym. You see gym is very similar to church life (fellowship). I’ll break it down using this imagery:
If you’re not around or are skipping gym, you start to return to your old ways - maybe not on the first day, but gradually over time the less time you spend in that environment you start to feel its effects. This is not just in what you do, but also how you think and feel.
Psalm 133 (KJV) “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
Please note this is imagery to paint a picture for the point.
1. Trainers are like pastors, ministers or church leaders.
They won’t babysit you, but they are there to inspire and motivate you hopefully through example, just as Jesus did. They will enable and empower you to be better and learn how to use the equipment (Bible) and how to exercise your faith. The trainer’s goal, like the pastor’s, is that you can thrive beyond the gym.
2. Gym membership is like church attendance.
Church is not a collection of holy people, just like the gym is not a collection of fit and perfectly healthy members. But what I’ve found is that you can see when someone is not on their nutritional plan (Word/Bible) because the results are visible and they have become invisible (you don’t see them as often).
A big part of the gym we’re a part of is that accountability is important. If you’re not honest about where you’re at, people can’t help you get back on track, but if you’re honest, your results become more reachable because you’ve become teachable.
I remember when we finished a 12 week programme, I went MIA (Missing In Action). Why? Because I knew I was eating badly and my excuse was that I was too busy. Like church life (fellowship). What’s your excuse? Is it “I’m too busy”, or is there something deeper going on? Has pride robed you from reconnecting? Has Satan allowed you to believe you’re “alguds” (in the words of the generation).
3. Doctor refers to God. (Please note your doctor is not God).
I got sick on 16 April this year, pretty badly sick. I refused to go to the doctor because my pride got in the way. My wife (bless her heart) kept saying, “You need to go to the doctor”. On the “third day” (that sounds very scriptural), I rose from the bed and went to see the doctor.
My doctor said, “You could have a heart attack at any time if you are not careful.” God sometimes tells us at times things we don’t want to hear, but we need to.
This was a wakeup call. This was my moment to take responsibility and get healthy, not to look good but to see my children’s children grow up. That’s a dream I live for.
When is the last time you did a spiritual health check or even a physical health check?
4. Challenges or consistency.
Don’t live by challenges alone. I remember a time a while ago where I was a 10 week or 12 week challenge junkie. I was waiting for those challenges to get me refocused.
Challenges are like conferences which in Christian circles are a big thing. They are great for kickstarts or refocusing, but what I’ve only come to realise in the last two years and from the recent challenges is that consistency wins every time.
My Christian walk has been not how many conferences I can attend, but more about how
consistent I am with my walk with Jesus on this road of sanctification.
It’s a narrow road, but it’s the best adventure ever.
Joseph Fa'afiu is a Pastor, author and community leader who has worked in the South Auckland area for over 18 years. Along with his lovely wife Lydia, they have 5 beautiful children. Joseph has been involved in a variety of areas from story times in libraries and schools to working with at risk youth, to developing mental health strategies and suicide prevention campaigns with local agencies. Joseph sits on the Counties Manukau Police Pacific Advisory Unit. He is a role model for Duffy Books in Homes and has written and published two children books "I am me" and "Little Poppy" which help young children deal with bullying, self- esteem, and peer pressure issues.
He created two initiatives to help Inspire Youth Leaders in South Auckland and is the founder of the first Youth Public Speaking contest called Storytellers. He has also founded a Suicide Prevention Trust called Hopewalk, which has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people nationally and internationally in USA, UK, Canada, and the South Pacific.
In 2016, he was awarded Sunpix Pacific Community Leader of the year for his ongoing work in the community. He received the Maori & Pacific Ministry of Health Volunteer of the Year Award; is the 2017 NZ Champion of Public Speaking and has been received a recognition certificate from the Australian Mental Health Awards. In addition, Counties DHB nominated him for LifeKeepers Award for work in Suicide prevention.
Joseph’s favourite quote is “what you do in this life echoes in eternity” from the movie Gladiator.