It’s For Gains Bro!

by Jonathan Whitaker

So, you clicked on this blog and you are probably having one of two reactions; half of you are giggling and the other half are sitting there, brow furrowed, saying to yourselves, “Who does this guy think he is??? That’s Jesus he’s making fun of.” Well, to both of you let me say thank you for giving me a chance to explain myself. For the latter, may I offer a truce for the duration of this article. At least you clicked, everyone else just swiped past the picture and now they are grumpy with me.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) As irreverent as this meme is, it got a few things right amongst all the wrong. First, Optimum Nutrition tm whey protein is the best. If you want “Gainz” with a “Z”, then look no further. No, I am not sponsored by them. So, they got that right. Jesus is surrounded by children in the picture and the scripture says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.” Again, the meme is pretty accurate up to this point. The rest is probably bogus. I’ve never been to ancient Israel, but I am guessing Jesus was not a Norwegian hair model (that’s a thing right?). Isaiah 53 is clear that Jesus was not pretty, “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” I’ll just leave it at that and give this meme a two out of three for accuracy.

Look, you and I both know that a funny Jesus meme was click bait. I offer one personal alibi and I will get to my point. I love Jesus, and I take His commission very seriously. It is because of the commission that I continually scrutinize my life and ministry. I want to make sure that I am not living two lives; the secular and the Christian. I just want one true-identity and that is the identity I have in Christ.

This Jesus meme has hit my phone and desktop numerous times. I admit, it makes me laugh, but strangely, it also convicts my heart. For those of you who know me, you know that one of my biggest personal pursuits is weight lifting. I am not claiming any particular talent or skill, but I do it a lot. Five days a week at 6:30 am, Jennifer, Josh, Dom, and I hit the weight room. We are a club…and I am going to name our lifting club, the Wyld Stallyns. Excellent! Now you understand my mass consumption of whey protein.

This meme is convicting because it contrasts a profound statement about salvation and Jesus’s divinity against a reality that I live. What I mean is, I often find it easier to be an evangelist for exercise than I do for Jesus.

I think you will agree that when you are excited about something, it is easy, if not fun, to tell others about it. For me, weight lifting and exercise is that thing. If I hear that you are feeling lousy or want to get in shape, I will drop what I am doing and give you the gospel of the gym in a heartbeat. It is easy to do because I am passionate about it, and people are willing to listen. People love talking about getting in shape, whether they intend to do it or not. I have never had a person get offended when I talk about fitness. I’m not alone either. There are fitness disciples by the millions all preaching the gospel of the gym, for FREE. #fitspo on Instagram has 48.3 million posts. That is one single Instagram hashtag of probably thousands dedicated to the same topic. Now there are not 48.3 million independent posters (otherwise we’d all be in shape), but it is probably safe to assume across the entire Instagram site, there are half a million or more.

The book of Revelation says during the Great Tribulation there will be 144,000 evangelists who will reach the entire population of the world, so that all will have the opportunity to accept or reject salvation. (Rev 7) 144,000 is a pittance compared to the disciples of the gym.

At the heart of the matter is rejection. I don’t - and I suspect you don’t - like rejection. While people want to hear about how to get fit, often they are uncomfortable or ambivalent to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Frankly, the Gospel is offensive. “I am the Way, the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT through ME,” (emphasis mine). That is an exclusive claim. No religion, no payment, no amount of good behavior gets you into heaven, only belief in the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Oh, by the way, let’s not forget that when you tell people they can be saved that you are also telling them that they are under the wrath of God, a wrath that ends in hell. People want to hear about gains, but not hell.

So, you see the dilemma. If you have been following this blog for the past three weeks, you have now gotten the Gospel three times. It has really been on my heart. I want you to be saved. Yes, even those of you I don’t know. Blogging is a step I have taken to fight the fear of rejection that comes with witnessing for Jesus. I can give the Gospel to 100 people at once, check my facts, double check my verses, and fire my blog away into the internet. Then if you reject the Gospel it is not to my face. That is a good first step.

You and I need to move beyond first steps and get serious with our friends and family. Reading is fine and effective, but, “Faith comes by hearing.” (Rom 10:17) This means eventually we need to tell people in person. This means you have to put yourself out there. This means people will ask you questions, which you may or may not be able to answer. This means you will be dismissed and maybe made fun of. This means you need to practice and know what you believe, and more importantly, what the Bible says. But, in all of this, someone will be saved. And that is why we do it.

One story and I will give you your Facebook back. My uncle John is a fearless evangelist (or so it seems). I picked him up from the airport in Washington, D.C. once and was delayed at the arrivals curb for 10 minutes while he gave a complete stranger the Gospel. The guy just sat there and listened, asked a few questions and made a few excuses. Then an amazing thing happened, the guy prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. In just ten minutes of uncomfortable conversation, a man’s life was saved from an ETERNITY in hell. The young man, Frank, ended up attending church with me for the next few months while he was in school learning to be a train engineer.

Thomas was a success story. John said during his time in seminary, he was required to street evangelize for an entire semester. He said it was a humbling experience. He once preached for hours from a street corner, while hundreds of people walked by and ignored him like he was a lunatic. At the end of the day, while packing us his things to drive home, a man approached him. The man had listened for a half hour from a cracked door of his business. In the midst of my uncle John’s rejection and humiliation, this man stood quietly by himself and repented of his sin and prayed to Jesus to be his savior. You never know in whose heart the Holy Spirit is at work.

Examine your life. What are you passionate about? Take that same passion and offer it to Jesus. Perhaps He will take the things you love and combine them with the mission He has given you to spread the Gospel. Who knows, maybe the Wyld Stallyns will be the name of my weight lifting/evangelism club. “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matt. 28:18-20)