Jan 16, 2009

spiritual fitness

On Wednesday, countless numbers of local people made a decision... a "make it" or "break it" kind of decision. What is most interesting, though, is that many didn't even realize it when it happened.

But it happened.

I saw it when my boys and I pulled our van into the local rec center and got an easy parking spot. What is normally a well-crowded lot was quite empty comparatively, indicating what I eventually confirmed inside - the cold weather drew a line in the snow that scared off a crowd of January exercise participants.

To say that our nation is caught up in a fitness craze at the start of every year is an understatement. Somehow it's become a billion dollar business over the past few decades and it only continues to grow. Just look at your local store ads - ever since we crossed that Christmas threshold the major products being advertised have to do with exercise. There are things you jump on, jump over, roll on, roll over, and (my favorite) battery-powered belts that zap you in all kinds of "fun" places.

And they all promise the same thing - if you use this piece of equipment, watch this video, or swallow this magic potion, you can be physically fit in a matter of weeks... maybe even shorter than that. So people buy the thing or get a gym membership with the best of intentions, and then we taper off... some because they aren't seeing the results they want, and some because they are and think they're done.

I'm speaking, by the way, as one of them. In many years I have also bought into this almost-physical fitness cycle, which is why I see an obvious comparison to spiritual things in this, too.

Think about this - nost people know how to get physically fit:

  • Eat a balanced diet that gives you proper energy.

  • Regularly exercise to build muscles and strengthen internal systems.

  • Get proper rest every night.

But most people cite they don't know how to get spiritually fit. After all, there aren't too many informercials on spiritual fitness. But isn't it pretty obvious? It's the same plan.

  • Eat a balanced diet that gives you proper energy.
    • Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " (Matthew 4:4)
    • "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34)

  • Regularly exercise to build muscles and strengthen internal systems.
    • As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)
    • So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! (Hebrews 12:12-13, MSG)
  • Get proper rest every night.
    • Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:12)
    • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. (Exodus 20:8)

What if it really is that easy? That would mean that what holds us back from growing is not knowledge of what to do, but the drive to push past the cold weather of our lives. Every one of us faces it each day, creating in us something proactive that pushes through it for the long haul or an empty parking lot of lost ambition that keeps us feeling defeated.

You can do it... let the pain of staying the same become greater than the pain of change, and as it does...

Take the time and the trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.” (1 Timothy 4:7, Phillips Translation)

7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

No comments: