I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately. Some switch got flipped a few months back (we’ll call it turning 31 and feeling older) and I’ve been very focused on changing my lifestyle to one that is much more healthy. It’s been a lot easier than I had imagined.
I’ll come back to the success part of this story in a minute, but for right now I want to focus on an observation I’ve made over the past several weeks. I’ve been reading a lot of articles on health lately, and despite their creative packaging they all seem to say the same thing. Sure, they have the promise the latest and greatest in diet and fitness fads, and I understand their need to sell magazines, or get clicks on their articles, but in the end they seem to say the same thing: Eat right, exercise and get plenty of sleep.
A multi-billion dollar industry boils down to a few core principles. We complicate the process with all kinds of details, and professionals add on all kinds of tricks and secrets to build up and inflate an empire. I get lost in all of the articles that pop up while researching health, and I can’t even begin to talk about the magazine racks at the supermarket and bookstores. There is so much stuff out there. And where does that leave us? Navigating from one craze to another? Buying the latest workout gadget? Looking at every meal as a number?
I don’t bring this up because I’ve mastered the health industry, I bring this up because it sounds awfully familiar. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a lot of similarities between the health industry and parts of religion. It’s so easy to get lost in one devotional series or another, the latest ‘how to know God better’ book or craze. All the time, there are a couple of core principles that come up again and again.
I think Jesus meant what he said when he stated that everything hangs on these two principles. We add so much to these ideas. I know there are other important scriptures, and much like the health industry, it is important to develop and equip people to put these principles into action, but it is so easy to get lost in all that we add.
My dad had a good point of view on this, he used to say that that we are the ones that make following Christ tough. We’re the ones who have the issues. I think he was right.
The programs are not in and of themselves bad, the tips, secrets and advice are not necessarily bad, but they can potentially get in the way of the core principles. And that’s where the issue lies. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the diet than getting healthy. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on being a Christian than Christ.
I’m not a part of any program right now. I’m simply eating better, working out on a consistent basis, and getting plenty of sleep. There are no secret tips, not tricks, no 6 steps to anything. It’s simply been a change of lifestyle. The more I find myself committing to the basics the more details come into line. And it’s been the same with my faith. I find the more I focus on the few core principles, the more the details seem to work out as well.
There is no substitute for the original. We can repackage, rephrase, and re-whatever as much as we want, but these things boil down to a few core principles. It’s easy to get caught up in the peripherals, but maybe the blessing comes from focusing on the basics.
One love, one heart.