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Breaking Rust

“Exercise is the stimulus that returns our bodies to the conditions for which they were designed.”

Have you ever had to break the rust off a bolt? Maybe you haven’t personally, but you’ve seen someone else do it. Rust forms on metal through a naturally occurring process known as corrosion. Oxygen, which is a good thing by the way, can have a negative effect on metals which are exposed to it for long periods of time. The rust that forms on metals can become incredibly strong, eventually preventing a machine from working at all. Amazingly, the simplest remedy to rust is activity. Consistently using machines prevents rust from forming. I don’t want to get in the weeds on lubrication and all that, so forgive me mechanical engineers for the simplicity of my illustration. Which leads me back to breaking rust. If I want to “free” the bolt, so to speak, from its frozen and inactive state, I must apply a greater amount of force than normal. Given enough force, the rust will break, the bolt will operate again, and corrosion has to start all over.

The same can be seen in chronically inactive people. Your body was made for movement – period. It was never designed to be inactive for extremely long periods of time. Think about people who are injured and required to have bed rest for weeks or months. Healthcare providers actually have to come in and reposition these patients on a consistent basis otherwise they develop sores on their body from constant contact with the bed. We were made to move! However, we live in a world of automation where movement is a choice rather than an obligation. We drive everywhere, sit down when we get there, lie down when we’re tired, sit up to eat, and at the end of the lay down to sleep. Most people are in a chronic cycle of limited activity, or to put it in fitness terms, reduced range of motion. And guess what? That leads to corrosion as well. This is why it’s so difficult for people to start and maintain a fitness program. It’s like breaking the rust off a bolt. Their hips don’t fully open, their backs are in terrible shape from poor posture at a desk, and their muscles have weakened from limited use. Here’s the thing – all this awaits us too the day we stop moving. Daily movement is the buffer against corrosion. Don’t think that your current fitness can protect you. A Formula One car will rust just like an old lawnmower if you quit moving it long enough.

While most people can comprehend this process from a physical perspective, they don’t see that it can happen spiritually as well. Your soul can become corroded. Instead of rust, think bitterness or anger or envy or greed or pride. These are the effects of a corroded soul, one that has a chronically reduced range of motion. Now, that might lead you to think, “Ok Trey, so what does a soul look like with a full range of motion?” So glad you asked! Full range of motion for the soul is daily communion with God. When we limit our connection with God, we leave our soul vulnerable to the corrosive effects of this world. Regardless of what you think about God, know this – He loves you and He is for you. He wants you to experience peace, joy, and purpose in this world. You’ll only come to know these experiences by experiencing Him. The longer you limit the range of motion of your soul, the more force you’ll need to break the rust. You’ll make excuses for why you don’t spend time with God. You may try and explain God away altogether. And over time that’s going to take a toll. Start by spending just five minutes a day with God. Maybe take the first five to tell Him why you don’t believe. He’ll listen to you. He’s patient and loving like that. Culture has another term for corrosive people – we call them “toxic.” Toxic because their spiritual condition not only negatively impacts them, it does the same to people around them. Spiritual inactivity is the gateway to toxicity. I invite you to break the rust and see what God’s got for you on the other side.

Questions for Reflection:

Do you know someone you would describe as toxic? What characteristics or qualities make them that way?

Do you think spiritually inactive people know their souls have corrosion?

What does a spiritually active life look like? Does it look like yours?

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