“The Value Of Spiritual Fitness”
July 15, 2015
Flowers growing along side of barn.
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“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” (I Timothy 4:7b,8). “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith” (Jude 20).
the world rushes on
I realize the importance of keeping myself physically fit and admit that I am not in the shape I would desire. This summer we have been doing a lot of biking in an attempt to improve our physical health. The accumulative effects of sports injuries over the years are taking their toll, as well as my ongoing struggle with too much weight and the discipline of getting regular exercise. Sound familiar?
When I was younger I focused a lot on physical fitness and was involved in a variety of athletic pursuits including track and cross country. The photo to the left was taken about 45 years ago when I suppose I was in optimum physical shape, running for a relay team at Truman High School in Independence, Missouri. I am preparing to receive the baton and run my leg of the relay.
Likewise there is a time we as spiritual leaders accept the baton in our younger years of ministry. As we age we in turn pass the baton on to those who follow us in contending for the faith.
Emphasis on exercise is not a new phenomenon. After all “Ancient Greek and Roman culture put a high value on physical exercise. Paul tells Timothy that the same work and commitment that others put toward physical exercise should be put toward the pursuit of godliness.” (David Guzik)
Today let us consider spiritual fitness, which is comparatively of much greater value than physical fitness. There’s a tendency, due to an emphasis on truths regarding our positional relationship with Christ, that we might assume our role in this spiritual fitness is merely passive. We’ve heard the phrase, “let go and let God”, and may assume any effort on our part is carnal. However, let us carefully examine the two daily Scriptures. Both speak of an active responsibility on the believer’s part in developing and maintaining spiritual fitness.
In the first text the apostle Paul addressed Timothy (and every believing reader through the Holy Scriptures, including you and me); “Train yourself to be godly.” The verb is active. The NASV translates this phrase, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness”. The word for train and discipline is “gumnazo” from which we get the English words, “gym” and “gymnastics”. The word is surely used in an athletic sense but, for the believer, the training’s purpose is spiritual godliness, which has comparatively much greater value both in this life and the life to come. After all, one can be in optimum physical condition here yet have no preparations at all for their life hereafter.
“For physical training is of some value.” Pastor Steven Cole comments, “Paul is not despising bodily exercise. Rather, he is making a comparison between bodily exercise and spiritual exercise. It’s fine to discipline your physical body; it will help you for a few years. But it’s far better to discipline yourself spiritually, because it will put you in good stead not only in this life, but also in the life to come. We ought to work much harder at godliness than we do at our games.”
You, as a loyal reader of this dailyencouragement ministry, are exercising spiritual discipline as you read our daily Bible text and the lesson that follows. As you pray and perhaps avail yourself to included Christian music or further teaching links, and most especially as you apply Biblical truths we present you are daily engaging in spiritual training.
What kind of spiritual shape are you in today? Although always important, given the increasingly evil days in which we live, we need to make a concerted effort to be spiritually fit. After all, we do want to finish the race well, don’t we!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we build ourselves up in the most holy faith as we pray in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Spiritual training for the believer is not just for starters but it’s for all who come under the banner of salvation, from the child mature enough to recognize his need for a Savior to the most senior saint among us. As we submit ourselves to Your authority, Your leading, and Your commands we are training ourselves to be spiritually fit for the heavenly kingdom. Help us not to grow lazy or indifferent toward spiritual truths, instead shape us into the kind of believer that brings glory to Your name while it also builds us up in our most holy faith. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Yesterday we shared a message about “Friends On Earth And Friends Above”. Jim, a friend from Texas, sent this poem, which sadly reflects reality too often:
That will be grace and glory.
To live below with saints we know;
Now, that’s another story!
Yesterday on a bike ride down our road we watched the migrant workers harvesting Zinnias from the commercial flower farm down the road from us. We would have chatted but they didn’t speak English yet were pleased to have their photo taken.
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