God’s Spiritual Gym

Several months ago I joined a gym. I know, some of you are wondering why a physical specimen such as I would need to go to a gym. Several reasons played into my decision. First, my blood pressure medication had to be increased to keep it in a good range. Second, elbow, knee, and ankle joints were beginning to feel the effects of arthritis. And third, I didn’t have to walk up many hills or exert much energy to realize I wasn’t as fit as I thought. Jogging and/or treadmills put undue stress on my ankle and knee joints, but I found that elliptical machines allowed for good cardiovascular exercise without the joint stress.

So I joined a gym that had several of those machines. I have to admit that the first few weeks were brutal. Getting up early to go sweat profusely isn’t a great incentive for starting a day. My body ached with rebellion and my mind told me to stop the insanity – but I persevered – and glad I did. As a result of my efforts, I am now experiencing some wonderful benefits. My overall cholesterol numbers have dropped by thirty points into the “desirable” range, my blood pressure medication has been cut in half, the pain in my joints has decreased, and my overall stamina has increased. Am I advocating everyone join a gym? No. But as I was working out the other day and considering the benefits I had gained as a result, the Lord impressed upon me the correlation between working out the body and working out the spirit in studying the bible and spending time alone with Him. Much like going to a gym, it is hard for some to carve out the time needed for such an endeavor. Others are simply satisfied the way they are and see no need for it. But for those who determine it as needed and persevere day after day, the benefits are enormous. Your anxiety levels will drop as you learn to cast all your cares on Him and trust His providential care in your life. Your sensitivity to sin will rise as you understand more and more His ways. Your commitment will deepen as you attain more and more the mind of Christ and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Psalmist declared, “Strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free” (119:28-32). Imagine what the world could be if every believer joined God’s spiritual gym!

To His Glory,
Pastor Bill