My niece is always starting a diet plan that ends as it begins. She tried to rope me into going to a gym with her… no young lady! I tried to consider taking fast walks… but the truth is I’m lazy. I hate workouts. Sometimes I get in the groove of it, but I’m soon not motivated enough to continue. I’ve tried Pilates… tried the aerobic videos, tried the personal trainers and even settled for wii yoga and boxing to keep in shape… but it’s been years. I’ve been considering getting a bicycle to at least ride around the house… I started swimming lessons but the lessons didn’t last long last year. In other words… I have no work out routine.
You see…I don’t feel like I need to work out. I am slim… and sometimes it feels like I’m a little too lean. Some friends gush about wanting to be as trim as I am. People assume I work out a lot because I look fit. I always shamefully give them a refund for their compliment… I don’t work out mate.
And so you see, I tell myself I don’t need to work out. Life and genes has pardoned me from the unpardonable human torture of trying to loose weight, but I have come to realize that the fact that I am slim doesn’t mean I don’t need to work out. Or the fact that you diet doesn’t downplay the importance of a good work out. There’s more to working out and eating healthy than just loosing weight. Its about being healthy, and loads of other benefits including a sound mind.
It’s the New Year. The time of resolutions and new slates… and on most peoples list comes the weight loss/work out resolve. The gyms are packed full as usual at this time of the year, with the new years resolution bunch, and the realist who just come in to burn off the guilt of the holiday binging, knowing it isn’t a routine they’ll be keeping through out the year.
The shops are shoving gym work out gears in our faces through massive sales campaign… appealing to our January after holiday guilt, and New Year resolutions.
Some would quit after the first day… a joy for the true gym loyalists who feel like the impostors have invaded their personal space.
Exercise is good. I hope to get on that band wagon soon enough. I am tired of how out of breath I am when I walk up a flight of stairs. I jumped on a trampoline and almost passed out. I may be trim, but I am so out of shape.
Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers. 1 Timothy 4:7-8MSG)
The same way we deal with our bodies is the same way our Spirits need to be treated. Churches are all organizing a beginning of the year fast… like a work out program for the soul to get in shape for the New Year… the perfect soul exercise and I see loads of people I usually don’t see in church jumping in on it, which is a good thing, but like the enthusiastic New Year resolutions gym people, after that, what’s next? Some grab this moment and that’s all the work out for their soul for the whole year and then go back to the exuberance of living for self, leaving their spirits flabby.
It’s as important to work out our soul regularly as it is with our body.
Paul writes to Timothy to exercise daily in God.
I’m none compliant with my body when it comes to keeping in shape, because I for one am comfortable with how I look in shape, I would probably jump on the treadmill if I notice the weight coming in like an express train. But I can’t afford to be that way with my spirit, to feel like a lean mean fit machine in Spirit and so I become complacent in building myself, because, somehow I have arrived. I may look it and feel like the ideal Christian, and then I find out I’m out of breath when it comes to the little things… like trusting and having faith even for the littlest things, or getting panic attacks when I am faced with little oppositions.
We cant be spiritually lazy and lay hold of destiny. We must be intentional on setting our mind. Toure Robert
We must be intentional in keeping our Spirit in shape, in keeping them fit as much as we should with our bodies. We loose out on laying hold on somethings when we have unfit Spirits.
You may be a great Christian, but that doesn’t stop you from working out your Spirit… you need to keep in shape in order to dominate your world like the child of God that you are. We cant have great looking Christians getting out of breath at the slightest trial, or form of adversity, can we? We wouldn’t sweat the small stuff as fit Christians.
There’s so many ways to keep fit as a Christian… and trust me, it isn’t as tedious as running on a treadmill or throwing some hoops. Here's a few soul train/Spirit training ideas...
Go on the treadmill of right thinking… Don’t spend time thinking about things that only end up causing you pain, stirring up fear and discord and uncovering emotions that are better left behind.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9
Praying! Especially praying in the spirit…
Praying without ceasing isn’t as complicated and demanding as we feel it is. You don’t have to have closed eyes and closed rooms to pray to God. The prayer muttered under your breath. The ‘thank you Jesus’ you sigh at that meeting… it’s simply acknowledging God, carrying Him along as you go through the day and make decisions, not necessarily freaking people out with screams any and everywhere, there's a place for that and there's a place for under your breath prayers.
Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people). Ephesians 6:18
Sing songs of worship… your worship is your prayer as well…
Let the Word of Christ - the Message - have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Colossians 3:16(msg)
Eat healthy… Junk food will eventually take its toll on your body as it will on your spirit. Eat healthy… feast on the pure nutritious milk of the word of God. There's so much spewing around especially in this age of social media, from hateful comments, to lies and slanders and foolish gossip... junk junk junk! Get rid of all that, let the word and the Spirit of God fill you with love, boldness and a sound mind/sensibility.
So put aside every trace of malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander and hateful speech; like newborn babies [you should] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation [its ultimate fulfillment], if in fact you have [already] tasted the goodness and gracious kindness of the Lord. 1 peter 2:2-3
Lift weights of love… We are called to love, and we love because we received the Father’s love. Love is patient, kind, not jealous or boastful, rude and so much more(I Corinthians 13)
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2
Burn some calories with dancing… Praise looks good on you. Sing to God, dance to Him. Let your praise pour out to Him for who He is, God inhabits the praise of His people… he delights in our rejoicing in His presence. What a fun way to keep your Spirit fit. Give Him your best moves even if it has no rhythm, He’s right there dancing with you… it’s always uplifting spending time in praise and dancing before God.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. Psalm 149:3
Set goals… Keep going at it, don’t stop… forget the past achievements and failures and strive for even more… keep moving towards the mark, we are being perfected each day, and the only way we miss it is if we stop moving. You’re trim today and maybe even in shape, its not the time to fold up your work out gear, it’s the time to keep going.
Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14
There's so much more work out routines for our Spirits. Lets not get weary in doing good... keeping up with our daily exercise. A healthy Spirit is a life of dominion, peace, joy and good success.