1 Corinthians 9: 26-27 (The Message) ~ I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else about it and then missing out myself.
Ever felt like you just couldn’t take one more step..either because you were physically or mentally tired? Ever been so weary..ever felt discouraged, worn out or defeated? Chances are that you have.
The enemy (satan) wants us to stay in those dark and defeated places. That is when he has us right where he wants us. God is just waiting..not forcing Himself upon us, but waiting for us to turn to Him or turn back to Him. God wants to bring you out of the pits of despair.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) ~ if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
As I was running this morning on the treadmill, I couldn’t help but think of how out of practice I was. I mean, a year ago, I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles)..with a time I was proud of too. Today it took perserverance and determination just to run 1 mile. Then all of that made me think of how our spiritual lives can relate to the running or exercising. I was out of practice and only did 1 mile because of that. Now, I have to work my way back up.
It’s the same with our lives as Christ-followers or Christians. As a Christ-follower, to be an effective witness for Him, I have to stay in spiritual shape. If I don’t stay in His word, surround myself with good influences, be careful of what I listen to on the radio or watch on t.v.,read, etc… I start getting out of shape and back to the ways of the world instead of the way of my Savior God.
There have been times in my life when I felt close to God. There have been times in my life when I felt distance between us. It’s a relationship, and like any relationship if neglected it begins to dry up. If you don’t spend time with your loved ones, kids, husband, wife you grow apart. If you have a beautiful flower but don’t water it, it withers up and dies. If you are like me, it is usually too late by the time I notice the withered flower or plant. 🙂 Thank goodness though, once saved always saved and you can change your ways and your relationship with Christ will flourish.
I made a choice a while back to surrender to God and to let go of what “Heather’s” idea of a relationship with my savior was supposed to be like. I realized that there was more to life, more that I should be doing that was of lasting value..eternal value..to bring Him glory.
God never left me during those dried-up times..He was always there. Let me make something clear too, He wasn’t the dried-up one either. Even though I was saved, I was still holding back. You may have heard the old saying..something like, ‘God doesn’t move away from us, we move away from Him.’ The awesome thing about God’s mercy and grace is that He allows us to come back to Him and He forgives (and forgets) when we truly repent.
I don’t want to be spiritually out of shape ever again. This is why I stepped out of my comfort zone and obeyed God’s calling. Man, have I ever been blessed!!! He is always in my corner as long as I let Him lead and follow Him.
Does this mean I am perfect now? Far from it! My desire now is such that I want to be like Christ..who is perfect!!!
Here are some tips to get spiritually in shape:
– Just like you would do for physical exercise, you have to have a plan for staying spiritually in shape.
– Schedule your quiet time just like you would your exercise time. If you don’t exercise, then think of it as scheduling it like you would your “date night” or “girl’s or guy’s night”.
– Vary your routine…adding in some Bible study group time, podcasts, mission work, volunteer work at church, etc..
– If you are NOT getting the results you desire, you may need to intensify your “spiritual workout”. You may need to devote more time or turn off the t.v. or phone. You may need to be discipled.
– Do NOT forget that prayer is a very important part of staying “spiritually fit”. Just as stretching so that muscles are not damaged and using weights in order to burn more calories at rest is important to your physical body.
– Be consistent in your “spiritual workout”. Just like with physical exercise (if you don’t use muscles then they weaken..if you stop running you have to build your endurance back..basically starting over), if you don’t stay in the Bible you will be weak spiritually. Also, if you don’t watch what you fill your minds with and stay in constant communication(prayer) with God..you will grow weak in your spiritual life. You will not be as effective in ministering to others.
Finally, in order to not “fall off the wagon” like I did with my running, when you don’t feel like it..do it anyways!! Remind yourself of what you feel like when you are not as close to God as you would like to be.Or in physical exercise terms, remind yourself how much better you feel after a good workout. Look at your quiet time and anything else you are doing..like Bible study,etc.. as your “spiritual” workout.
Blessings my friends! Let’s get in shape and stay that way this time! 🙂
UNTIL NEXT TIME!