Getting in shape spiritually is one thing that can be just as challenging as getting in shape physically. As for me, in my younger years, a.k.a my front nine, I was in really good physical shape. Running anywhere from 15 to 30 miles per week, teaching aerobics (Jane Fonda style) 2 to 3 times per week as well…and lifting weights.
Somewhere along the way…the zeal for being in such great shape started to slip…..until I went two full years …without exercising at all. Looking back over that time, among other things that took my attention, I also was traveling and living with my parents part time in order to help them. I wanted to spend the last years of my mother’s life with her…and also comfort my dad during that horrific time. Needless to say, getting back on the road to getting in the physical shape I once was in has been a challenge. And, yes, taking on the role of MOB has motivated me. Just what I needed…a real good motivator!
Getting into spiritual shape can be just as hard. I am not referring to inviting Jesus into your heart…that is very simple to do. It involves receiving the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers. It doesn’t cost us anything to invite Jesus into our hearts.
The battle for getting in shape spiritually is the “sweating” that comes from fighting my/your/our flesh. I will give you examples in my own life where the real work out to becoming “spiritually fit”…causes me to sweat….and be sore. It challenges me and, at times, I have to force myself to obey when my feelings don’t line up with scripture. Waging a war against myself.
The following scriptures are just a few…that are a part of my “core spiritual work out”:
Matthew 5:29-30, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Following that up in Matthew 5:46, “If you love those that love you, what reward will you get?…”
Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes…”
Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Galatians 1:10, “For am I seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
To be spiritually fit…means to live and obey God’s word. That means waging war on our flesh, not being owned by our emotions ….which are unreliable, at times, for me.
The challenge is to really live the scriptures listed above. There are many others but these are big ones for me. Seeking to be “spiritually fit” brings the same kinds of benefits that being “physically fit” brings. Once you reach a certain level of “fitness,” it is easier to maintain….meaning…..you enjoy and see the benefits of your “labor” and it makes you strong. You feel better. You react better and, most of all, YOU experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. It releases spiritual endorphins.
I like to think of it this way…with the promise found in scripture in Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words and puts them into practice is like a WISE man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” [emphasis added].
When I/you/we seek to build spiritual muscles, it builds a strong house, a.k.a, “you and me,” then we are strong…and in shape for life. Recognizing only God knows the forecast……we do not. On the Back 9 I can say with absolute certainty, there will be storms…some that blindside us.
It is imperative as Christians that we do not allow ourselves to experience “atrophy” of our spiritual muscles.
We must become comfortable being uncomfortable….putting in resistance training against our fleshly desires. For me, at times, a day’s work out spiritually entails living 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It is like running uphill for 20 miles. Maybe this doesn’t ring a bell with you…I hope it does.
My desire is to encourage you to build your house “strong”. Evoke in your life a work out plan….to grow stronger spiritually. It may be hard at first. You may be sore….sweaty and smelly…..but you have to decide to decide… and you have to realize “tomorrow is the enemy of today,”
Do it today…work out your spiritual body….tomorrow becomes never…..