“Spend your time and energy training yourself for spiritual fitness.” 1 Timothy 4:7 NLT
“Time in the gym with little or no time in church will not get you in shape for eternity.“
My thoughts today are about “getting in shape.”
Fitness is important for your health and well being, but fitness does not just happen, even if you wish it did. It is always the result of training, and training is repetition and hard work – done again, and again, and again.
For recent months, I have been getting up earlier and swimming a gradually increasing number of laps in our pool. I have no illusion of grandeur – Michael Phelps I am not! – but I do hope to be more fit than I was and healthier as well. I feel better and have more energy through my day when I make the time and effort to regularly exert myself physically.
Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, and maybe one of the most fit athletes of any sport recently raced in the Tour de France after three years of retirement and still was able to finish third in the grueling event. He models the level of fitness required for exceptional achievement, and the training and discipline necessary to achieve that fitness.
Tom Landry, legendary football coach of the Dallas Cowboys, said, “My job is to get men to do what they don’t want to do, in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to achieve.” That’s kind of the way real life works, isn’t it? You have to do what you don’t want to do in order to achieve what you always wanted to achieve.
Visit any health club or exercise center and see the place busy and packed with people of all sorts sweating and working intensely rather than playing and enjoying themselves – all working for the simple goal of fitness – people with a vision of themselves, better, stronger, more fit than they’ve been.
I cannot imagine how much discipline, time, and effort some people are willing to give in order to be physically fit, yet how little priority, time or consistent effort is given for spiritual fitness. More time in the gym with little or no time in a church will not get you in shape for life everlasting. You may look good in this life when you go, but not so hot when you arrive – in eternity!
Getting in shape physically will unquestionably profit you for a while, while getting in shape spiritually will benefit you much now in your lifetime, and eternally even more. Here’s the Bible’s advice: “Spend your time and energy training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.“ 1 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT. Best not to neglect either.
Training for spiritual fitness requires untiring, life-long commitment, dedication to spiritual exercises, and continuing diligence in God’s Word. If you will, God will work you into shape.
“God is doing what’s best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it is going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” Hebrews 12:10-11 The Message.
My prayer for you today is that you never be casual about things that are eternal.