1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
After being hit and miss in my gym attendance for the past several weeks, I have truly been burdened about the correlation between being physically fit and being spiritually fit. When I wake up each morning, I allow my physical feelings to affect whether I go to the gym or not. Many days, I even allow those same feelings to affect whether I eat healthily or eat a bunch of junk food. Wow, my emotions have a lot to do with what I do each day. I can tell others how deceitful their emotions are. I can even help others learn to control their emotions, yet I allow mine to dictate to me what I do each day. How sad is that!?!
As I am trying to get physically fit, I read different articles and listen to advice from different people. I even have watched Biggest Loser on the TV and try to duplicate some of what I see. I know that there are three parts to truly get physically fit.
- Cardio Training: This would include 30 minutes of some form of aerobic exercise at least 3 days a week. Right now because of some knee problems, I am limited to either riding a stationary bike or being on an elliptical machine.
- Weight Training/Resistance Training: This includes lifting weights trying to either tone or bulk depending on what you truly want. A person needs to change the different body parts he/she trains so that he/she doesn’t tear down a particular muscle group. Low weight-high reps will tone the muscle group while heavy weight-low reps build muscles.
- Nutrition: There are so many different plans on how to eat properly…low fat, high protein; low carbs & protein; weight watchers; south beach; atkins, etc. to just name a few. The key is to eat fewer calories than you burn that way you will lose weight. A person needs to be balanced in their diet.
Enough about the physical fitness education, let’s move on to the spiritual fitness part. Just as there are at least 3 parts to the physical fitness regimen, there are a number of parts for the spiritual as well.
- Bible Reading: This could be done by reading a chapter a day or by using a plan to read the whole Bible in a year. It really doesn’t matter, we just need to read the Bible consistently so that we can hear what God is saying.
- Bible Study: The difference is that reading is just that reading while studying takes you deeper into the meaning of verses, words or passages. This can be done in group or alone. We not only need to read God’s word but we need to understand it as well.
- Worship: This includes private and corporate worship. We need to praise God with music as well as with our service.
- Prayer: We need to talk to God and allow Him to talk to us. Prayer takes time and discipline. It is not just to ask God to give us things, but rather to get to know the Heart of God.
- Fasting: This can be considered extreme Christianity, yet it is a discipline that is talked about in the Bible. Don’t try this w/o God’s direction.
There are other forms of spiritual disciplines such as witnessing, tithing/giving, serving, etc. You get the point that not just one aspect of physical fitness makes us disciplined or fit as well as one aspect of our Christianity does not make us spiritually fit. You pray for me as I strive for both.