Jesus was summarizing the heart of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17) and all of the Old Testament Law. The first four of the Ten Commandments have to do with our love for God, and the next six have to do with our love for and relationships with others. Loving God and one another in Christ is the essence of faith.

That same love extends to the world as we care about people who need Jesus in their lives. We need to understand that true ministry flows from sacrificial love. The love of Christ had changed Paul’s life so dramatically that he gladly called himself a servant, or slave, of Christ (Philippians 1:1). It was out of the overflow of Paul’s love for Christ that he poured out his life in service to Christ and to others, and he did it with intense devotion. Paul also learned how to receive the love and ministry of others in the family of faith, and he rejoiced in it.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. (Philippians 4:10)

Unlike your biological family, you can choose your church family—but it will have the same strengths and flaws as your own family. So if you’re unhappy with your church because it’s full of imperfect people and you think you can get a better deal down the road, you may find yourself very disappointed.

A man was so sick and tired of the people in his town that he packed up and left. He drove down the road a little bit and entered a town that seemed like a nice place to live. An old man was sitting on the steps of the city hall. So the traveler rolled down the window of his car and called out, “Hey, I’m thinking about moving here. What are the people like in this town?”

The old gentleman said, “Well, I don’t know. What were the people like in the town you came from?”

“Oh,” the man replied, “they were terrible, awful, the worst people I’ve ever been around.”

The old man looked at him and smiled. “You know what? The people in this town are just like that too, so you better go on farther down the road.”

I don’t know what your church is like, but I do know that God has placed you there for a reason. And unless and until He moves you on, that’s where God wants you to serve in the fellowship of Christ’s body. If you want to get fit, every part of the body has to cooperate.

I spent some extra time discussing our spiritual relationships because they are so important to the fitness for life that this book examines.

There is no question that your family relationships also play a vital role in getting fit for life. How you express your love is very important. Bobby Bowden, the famous coach of the Florida State University Seminoles, was asked by his wife, “Honey, do you love me more than football?”

Bowden thought for a minute and said, “College or pro?”

That’s not the way to do it! Men are notorious for not showing and sharing their love and for having an “I want to be served” attitude. But even Jesus did not come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45), and that’s the attitude we are to express in our families.

One problem in family relationships that also occurs in our church relationships is unrealistic expectations. Have you heard about Husband-Mart? In this fictional store a woman can choose her ideal husband from many options. The store has six floors, and the men increase in positive attributes as the shopper ascends each flight. But there is a catch, because once a shopper decides to leave a floor and go up to the next one, she can’t go back down except to exit the building.

So one woman comes to the Husband-Mart to find a husband. On the first floor, the sign on the door reads, “These men have jobs!” The woman says, “Well, that’s better than my last boyfriend, but I wonder what’s available further up?”