The results were rather shocking. I mean ever since I was a child I knew my cholesterol was high (familial hyperlipidemia is the official diagnosis), but this was off the charts. My cholesterol was 314. My LDL was 209, and my HDL was 95. (Note: physicians like to see your cholesterol below 240—LDL below 160 and HDL below 60). Something had to be done.
When the doctor and I spoke about strategies, she was pretty clear. She said my levels were likely the result of my age and that medication would probably be the only way to get them to come down. I explained that I really didn’t want to go on medication. I wanted to give diet and exercise another try. That’s where my friend Tracy came in.
For months Tracy had been telling me about this new exercise program at the gym we both attend. In casual conversation she would share, “I think you would like this,” or “Why don’t you come with me?” She was persistent but not in a pushy way, more out of compassion and care. She knows me very well and really thought this experience would be good for me. One day I finally said, “Yes.”
And you know what? She was right. It was exactly what I needed. Being an extrovert, I needed to be part of an exercise group. Being a morning person, I needed something that started between 6 and 7 a.m. Being a novice at weight training, I needed a trainer. And being already committed to a morning routine of prayer and scripture reading, I needed something that did not have a hard start time.
Twelve weeks in, and my cholesterol is down to 239! My LDL is at 148—the lowest ever in my life—and my HDL is at the very protective level of 91. My health has been dramatically altered, transformed if you will, because of my friend Tracy.
Why tell you this story? I’ve been thinking a lot about this experience. This is a wonderful example of evangelism. That is to say, how we share “good news.” Tracy shared her experience with me knowing me well enough to know that I too would benefit from and even enjoy what she herself had experienced. She was right.
I think we, myself included, are far more comfortable in sharing things like an exercise program than we are the life-altering experience of knowing Jesus. I’ve been very convicted by this experience. I now pray for God to place people and opportunities in my life that allow me to share the transformation I experienced from knowing Jesus as boldly as I share the transformational experience of an exercise program. Like the early church we read about in Acts that “never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah,” (Acts 5:42) I pray that I will never stop telling people about the life-changing effects of knowing Jesus.