If You Are Concerned About Fitness
Physical fitness is important. It affects the general health of our entire body. Neglecting physical fitness can lead to disease, sickness, and even death.
Health experts are concluding that exercise is vital to a person's health. Smoking, eating foods high in cholesterol and fat, and living under too much stress raise the risk of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of American adults, taking over half a million lives each year.
Statistics like these scare us. So we jog, take vitamins, watch our diet, do aerobics, and on and on, hoping somehow to avoid sickness and delay death.
Yet, every day there are hundreds of people around the world dying in another way unfit spiritually. They have overlooked the most important kind of fitness fitness of the soul. The Bible says, "Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:7, 8).
In other words, physical fitness, or training of the body is good, but in light of eternity, which is more important? Physical fitness, or spiritual fitness? God calls us to focus on what will count for eternity.
Why is it easier for us to focus on the physical?
We live in the concrete, the apparent, and it is hard for us to relate to the intangible, yet real, aspects of spiritual life.
We like to see quick results. And the results of a well-trained, healthy body are more obvious. Results of spiritual fitness may be harder to detect at first glance and require more discipline to develop.
The benefits of physical fitness affect this life only. But as we have just read in the Scriptures, a life disciplined in godliness benefits us not only in this life, but also in the life that is to come.
How can we exercise ourselves unto godliness?
Many people enroll in physical fitness programs. We must also enroll in God's spiritual fitness plan. The first step in enrolling is to acknowledge we need help. We are all born spiritually sick, "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). It is impossible for us in our natural state to be godly.
Jesus came to heal us from sin and its consequences in our lives. We need only to personally accept His sacrifice for our spiritual healing. He ". . . forgiveth all thine iniquities; [He] healeth all thy diseases" (Psalm 103:3).
Enrolling is a good start, but it is not enough in order to reach our goal. Maintaining our physical health requires eating the right foods. Likewise, a proper spiritual diet is vital to our spiritual health. God's Word is our spiritual nourishment. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). It gives us the daily stamina we need to resolve problems in our relationships, our homes, and our jobs. What have you been feeding your spirit lately?
In addition to getting proper nourishment, we must avoid things which are detrimental to our health, such as smoking and drinking. What things should we avoid to train our spirits in godliness? Colossians 3:8 and 9 says, "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another."
Just as regular exercise is essential to our physical well-being, prayer is of utmost importance to our spiritual vitality. Exercise strengthens our muscles. Prayer strengthens us to resist temptations. Jesus admonishes us, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41).
If we focus on the spiritual, should we neglect the physical?
No. God has planned for us to live balanced lives, but because we are human, it is easy for us to go to one extreme or the other.
A controlled, disciplined spiritual life will result in a controlled, disciplined physical life. If Jesus is truly our Lord, He will control every aspect of our lives. Apostle Paul urges us to give ourselves to God: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).
If we are to give God a sacrifice, we want to give Him the purest the best. "Keep thyself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22). Keep away from thoughts, activities, and actions that contaminate, and offer yourself as a pure, godly sacrifice to God.
Are you spiritually fit? Are you doing all you can to get in shape spiritually?
RECEIVE the Holy Spirit, given to all believers. RECEIVE Christ's commandments and instructions for life. BE RECEIVED into a spiritual fellowship of believers.
IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE JESUS
BELIEVE that Jesus is God's Son, sent into the world to save sinners.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
"As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).
"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. . . . The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:9, 16).
"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32).
"How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13).
"These were more noble . . . in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship" (Acts 2:41, 42).
RECEIVE the Holy Spirit, given to all believers.
RECEIVE Christ's commandments and instructions for life.
BE RECEIVED into a spiritual fellowship of believers.
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