Sunday, March 6, 2016

Physical AND Spirtual Workouts (3-6-2016)

I got on the scale today and the evidence of undisciplined eating habits stared me in the face.  A few years ago my husband and I decided (both of us having birthdays edging toward another decade, if you know what I mean!) it was time to get serious about what we put in our bodies. After doing research, we went full out gluten and sugar free.  If something had either of those two elements, it did not pass our lips!

With that disciplined approach came great rewards, not the least of which was significant weight loss for both of us.  We were vigilant and adamant about our new habits and likely a bit on the obnoxious side as we attempted to “evangelize” anyone who wanted to talk about food.

Fast forward a couple of years; our habits are becoming sloppy and less disciplined.  All too often we eat that sweet or bread thinking of it as an “occasional” treat.  Today the scale did not lie.  I could think of at least two occasions just yesterday when I consumed a significant amount of sugary food.  Time to get honest.

I do keep up my exercise pretty well so my YMCA visit today was part of my regular exercise routine.  Through the winter months I swim laps 2-3 times a week but this year I mixed it up a bit using the machines and treadmill.

Today, as I was straining my muscles, I took a look around.  I saw people of various ages, shapes and sizes working their bodies.  Some were sweating, others grimacing.  A few were plugged into their electronic devices, possibly listening to their favorite tunes.  Some of my fellow workout “partners” wore the latest in exercise apparel; others like me would not have made the grade if the exercise wardrobe fashionistas were present. 

What struck me though….it was pretty obvious which of those folks were disciplined about their workouts.  They had the best bodies!  They had the most stamina!

Let’s imagine what it would be like if we diligently did our spiritual “workouts”.  Do we set aside regular times of prayer?  Do our prayers have the fervor that leave us breathless and cause our hearts to engage?  Or maybe it’s time to spend more time…ramp up that part of our “spiritual workouts”.  Do we look forward to opening the Bible, mining it for wisdom and applying its lessons so we are better equipped for kingdom work? 

I have a phone app that measures my steps throughout the day; it’s a great way to encourage movement while doing ordinary tasks.  Our “spiritual workouts” can/should also be part of our daily routine.  I love listening to Christian music while driving or doing tasks around our home. We can pray anywhere, either out loud (I have received some strange looks from other drivers when they saw my lips moving and no one in the car!) or in our heads and hearts.

Last night I saw the movie, “War Room”, for the umpteenth time; talk about spiritual disciplines!  Wow!  Miss Clara set a wonderful standard for fighting for our homes, marriages, families using prayer and scripture.  (If you haven’t seen this movie, I would encourage you to do so.)

If we can easily identify people who are disciplined about physical exercise, can we also identify those in our community who are spiritually disciplined?  God’s Word has something to say on that topic.  Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The more disciplined we are in our “spiritual workouts”, the more we will develop a life that embodies the “fruit” described in this passage.

If I want to enjoy a fit and trim body, my exercise must be more than “occasional”.  If I want to experience a life ready to serve the King of Kings, I must be intentional.   

Hebrews 12:1 admonishes us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…”  Bible study/worship/fellowship/service/check, check, check, check!  Let’s ramp it up!  Let’s be “in shape” for God!


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