A scene plays out in my head: I put on my workout clothes. My husband puts on his. We both go to the gym. He gets on the treadmill and starts running. Meanwhile, I just stand around, waiting for him to be done. Then we both return to the house.
I went to the gym!
Or did I? I may have actually gone to the gym but certainly didn’t do the most important thing: working out my own body. Just because I have the proper clothes on and drive to the proper place, doesn’t mean I’ve done the proper work… and this can be true for our spiritual lives too.
Too often I see myself delegating my spiritual life to those around me. Many dedicated churchgoers invest time and energy in the ministries of the church as I watch from the sidelines. They work for the poor. They teach my children. They sing their hearts out. I admire them as they run on the treadmill, and in some secret place of my soul, hope that their piece of heaven will rub off on me if I just stick around.
I go to the gym with my workout clothes on, but don’t exercise. Standing in the church makes it easier to attain theosis, but you have to work out your own salvation. Proximity is not prayer.