Grabbing a bench top, risers, a bar, and weights, I situated myself towards the front of the workout room guaranteeing a clear view of the instructor. I "loaded" up my bar with an appropriately small amount of weight as I haven't been to this class in quite awhile, and prepared to feel the burn. If you've never been to body pump, it's a weightlifting class choreographed to music with tons and tons of reps. From squats to lunges, to dead lifts, to clean-and-presses and bicep curls- your entire body is challenged in a 45-60 minute, energy-packed class. Having been a regular to body pump in the past, I knew that I would walk away from class feeling sweaty with tired muscles. But what I didn't expect, was to leave feeling encouraged and challenged about how simple it is to be the gospel.
Putting my bar in set position, I rolled my shoulders back and got started as the instructor led us through the first set. Getting lost in the flow of the class, I zoned out to the rhythm of the music and sank low over my heels to get this booty ready for the beach (hah). A few songs in, I realized that this wasn't just any ordinary body pump class. Instead of the top 40's "my anaconda don't want some" beats pushing us to get lower and really push ourselves, this playlist was different. This playlist proclaimed the name of Christ.
I'm not going to lie, this threw me off a bit. But in a good way. I immediately started thinking- oh man, this guy must be a Christian right? Am I the only one who recognizes these songs? Is he allowed to do this- no one else has ever done this? Is that DC talk? A little body pump AND Jesus? This is so great! I couldn't help but get pumped up and want to jump around a bit as a catchy beat poured out of the speakers with these lyrics, "You are my freedom. We lift you higher. You are alive in us, nothing can take your place. You are all we need, your love has set us free." Jamming out to this playlist, I got to thinking about how simply the instructor had made his faith known.
As believers, it's so easy to get caught up in the idea that making an impact for Christ is all about how many lives you've changed, about how many "will you accept Jesus" conversations you've had, or how many times you've told the gospel story. Yes, God's ultimate plan is that all people will know Him and sharing His story is a big part of that, but the truth is, it's much more than that. In addition to telling His story, He calls us to be the gospel. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says to his disciples, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Notice how he doesn't say "and you will witness, you'll go tell my story, talk to lots of people about what I did in Jerusalem" - instead he says, "you will be my witnesses." Jesus' focus is not about all the words He wants His disciples to say, but about how they are to be the representation of who He is.
Being the gospel made simple is making Jesus' name known through the way we live our lives, not just through the ways we share the story of what He's done. It's meeting people where they're at and loving them with the love of Jesus.
The instructor of my body pump class didn't use any words to make the name of Jesus known in the workout room. Instead of saying "hey guys, my name is Andy, I'm a Christian - here's the gospel story and here's what I think you should do with it," he created a playlist with songs that spoke the name of Jesus, of the freedom found in Christ, and of the love of God. The songs that he chose, the way he led the class, how he made sure to know every person's name in the room, the words that he chose to motivate us to not quit, and the joy that he brought to the workout- those are the ways he made being the gospel simple.
I may not have a venue like the YMCA where I can lead 15+ people with some sweet Christian jams, but I have the choice to establish meaningful contact with my community. A choice to be His witness- to see each moment as an opportunity to bring the kingdom of God to places where He might not yet be known.
As you go about your day, I want to challenge you to join me in thinking about how you can bring light into the darkness that so often encompasses our world. Think about all the people you interact with in a week and show them a little love. Bring joy to the cashier at the grocery store who just got yelled at by the last customer for bagging her eggs with the bread, bring flowers to your dry cleaning lady who always asks how your day is going and sincerely wants to know the answer, call up a friend who you know is struggling and really listen. Being the gospel can be so simple. So let's do it- let's be a little more like Andy and brighten this place up a bit.