That Perfect Summer Bod

…Daniel…prayed three times a day, just as he always had, giving thanks to his God. (Daniel 6:10)

I’m a Grammy! Yes, my first grandchild arrived in July and with this new title came a shocking realization – I look like a Grandmom! Not that that’s a bad thing, and not that all grandma’s tip the scale…not even that I can’t lose weight, with God’s help, if I set my mind to it (I’ve done it before). But it got me thinking about the things we do “religiously”. 

For some, it’s striving for that “perfect summer bod”, with a fanatical focus on food and fitness. For some it’s weekend entertainment including bars, sports, video games, etc. Others pour themselves into work, pursuing perfection or simply determined to make more money. And still others scroll and troll social media for mindless or malicious satisfaction. I’m not saying these things are all necessarily bad. I’ve done many of them. My point is priority; to whom or what are we “religiously” faithful

I can’t help but think of Daniel. Taken from his home in Jerusalem as a teen, and throughout his life in Babylon, he remained steadfast and strong in the Lord. Maybe because his name means “God is my judge”, Daniel was ever mindful of his place and purpose. We see right from the start of the book, chapter 1:8, “he purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself”. He requested vegetables and water in place of the king’s required “best” and looked better for it. Then, many years and a few kings later (at age 90!), Daniel continued to demonstrate a “faithful unto death” attitude: But though Daniel knew about it, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs bedroom, with its windows open toward Jerusalem, and prayed three times a day, just as he always had, giving thanks to his God. Daniel knew the consequence of his law-breaking prayers would be death by lions. Yet, he put God first.

Many of the things we do “religiously” have nothing to do with God or the Bible. What we mean is “habitually, without fail”, or maybe even with “conscientious diligence.” And in that sense, the “religious” continue to be tossed to the lions, unaware. But what Daniel did came from a heart of devotion to God, exercised sincerely and consistently, no matter the cost. When we, like Daniel, put God first, he takes care of us too, in ways we could never imagine. The outcome may not look how we pictured, but we can trust it’s best because God knows the whole story, He is righteous, and we are his kids!

You may feel as I do, that perfection is found in a newborn infant – 20.5 inches of chubby rolls and dimples. Everyone oohs and ahhs and I, myself, can’t stop staring at the beauty of God’s creation, marveling over the miracle of life. Yet, this tiny gift, created and given by the only One good is (as someone once said), “just a little sinner”. What, then, can we do as parents and grandparents, children of God, siblings of the Kingdom – in our own families, in the church, in the world? Look, as God does, not at the outer appearance but at the heart. Step away from your mirror and let His Word shine truth on any changes to be made. 

The only real beauty mankind’s image reflects is God’s. If we’re “religiously” doing everything but spending time with the Lord, even veggies and water won’t produce a perfect body, no matter how good the outside looks. Perfection comes through Jesus. In thanks, let us also kneel before God with steadfast hunger. As His Spirit fills and refills, may we eat, drink and be holy!

SHINE, always