Since the first of this year I have been engaged in a conflict directly out of World War II: the Battle of the Bulge! I have been focusing on simply trying to lose a few pounds, get fit so that I can actually run up and down a basketball court, and if I can, look a little better when I go to the beach. Of course, on the latter part there is only so much I can do!!
Since January I have done pretty well in the consistent exercise department. I am not going crazy by getting up at 4:00 a.m. to workout, and I am not trying to lose a huge number of pounds. I just want to feel a little better. And I have found when I exercise, I generally feel good.
But the last few weeks have been a struggle. I don’t feel motivated to work out, I am making excuses for not being active, and I am not being disciplined about what I am eating. So, my belly has expanded a little and my overall fitness level is, well, let’s just say I won’t be running any fast breaks anytime soon.
As I was reading in scripture today I came across the spiritual equivalent of what I have been going through physically. I 1 Timothy 4:7-8 Paul writes these words:
“train yourself to be godly. For 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.”
Spiritually it is up to us to decide to train ourselves. If we pray, read our bibles, fellowship with other believers is all dependant on our desire to do so and our choosing to do it. God doesn’t just magically make us spiritually fit anymore than he makes us physically fit. It is a matter of our desire and our discipline.
It is very easy to find a reason not to be spiritually disciplined. “I’m tired,” “it’s early,” “it’s late,” “I don’t know where to start” are all reasons that I have used at one time or another to talk myself out of spiritual discipline. The key factor is that we will lonely be as godly in spirit as we put in the time and effort to be disciplined in habit. I am not talking about some legalistic checklist of things we have to do. I am talking about the daily habits that should be a part of our life for our spiritual fitness. If we really desire intimacy with God and clarity of his desire for us and our spiritual lives, we must put in the time and effort to connect with him on our own.
So, today I am challenging you and me to start. Pick up your bible and read. Spend some quiet moments in prayer. Connect with other believers who can encourage you on your walk with Christ. I am choosing to do that today. I am also choosing that I will ride my bike later today and get back into at least some level of physical shape.