It’s a fitness crazed world. Everyone is getting into the act as the fitness fad sweeps across the nation. Now, as far as fads go, this one at least has healthy benefits. People are making conscious decisions to take better care of themselves and lead healthier lifestyles. Everywhere you go, you see people running, doing Crossfit, or at home with their P90x or Insanity. When I played baseball both in high school and college, the number one thing I hated doing more than anything was running. In fact, I swore once my career was over, I would never run again. Yet here it is, 2015, and I too have joined the fitness craze. Tomorrow, I will begin week 2 of my couch to 5K training program, I bought a fit bit to help track my exercise & sleeping patterns, and I am counting my calories using My Fitness Pal. Now, did I jump on the bandwagon because everyone else did? No, I just realized a simple truth, a truth most all of us have realized- if we don’t take care of ourselves now, we may not live to spend later days with our family. So, in all morbid honesty, I could no longer stand the thought and fear of having a stroke or heart attack and leaving my family behind when I should have done something about it.
This revelation, as most of my revelations do, got me thinking about the spiritual implications of my decision to get back into shape. What are we doing to maintain our spiritual health? I mean there are all of these programs, apps, and gimmicks we buy into in order to achieve our physical health goals; but what about our spiritual health? Do we have spiritual health goals? What are we doing to exercise our spiritual muscles; and what are we doing to maintain our spiritual health once we begin to exercise it? I believe that the exercising of our faith is far more important than any physical exercise that we can accomplish. I also believe that it can be done just as easily as our physical exercise if we are willing to put forth the effort.
All of these categories fit into what I call Basic Faith Maintenance. This is a concept that I talk with my students about quite often. The tools needed to maintain a healthy spiritual lifestyle in a very dark and lost world. Basic Faith Maintenance is a simple 3 step process that includes daily prayer, daily bible study, and being involved in a community of believers. Daily prayer is an act of worship- an act that should be done to glorify and honor God in every request we bring before Him. When we engage actively in prayer with our creator, an amazing relationship builds out of it. Secondly, in order to grow our spiritual muscle we must exercise our faith and our knowledge of God’s Word daily. Being engaged in Bible Study not only stimulates that faith growth, but it prepares us for the tough times of persecution that comes our way and tries to convince us that this is all just a myth. Lastly, we MUST engage with a community of believers- the church. Our culture has redefined church as something negative and unneeded. Culture has convinced us that we can have “church” on the lake, or in our houses in front of the TV, or somewhere else. Culture tells us that our quiet time is enough. The problem with this thinking lies in the fact that church is not just a building with a sermon & a few songs sung- the Church is the PEOPLE!! People who are like minded in faith, who hold us accountable, who are a support system when the world has beaten you down. They are they recharging station our spiritual lives need when we have spent a long week in this cold, lost world that cares nothing about us.
As a I wrap this article up, it would be easy for me to say that I could have church, sitting with my family at this table looking at the Atlantic Ocean- but the truth is that I missed my church family this morning. I missed the recharge I get when I see my students and get to pour into them. Now, I will be the first to tell you that this time away was desperately needed, but I can assure you that next Sunday evening I will be more than ready to be in front of my students engaged in God’s Word, because even us pastors need the Body of Christ to help heal us and recharge us from week to week. So let me encourage you- if you can find time to run, if you can find time to Crossfit or lift, if you can find time for P90x, then you can find time to exercise your faith.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach