Are You Neglecting Your Spiritual Fitness?

So, it's Sunday... aka "meal prep day" for us in the fitness world, the day we cook and prep our food and meals, so that we can easily stay on track with our nutrition throughout the week. We meticulously figure out our calories and macros and then plan out our workouts for the week, down to the exact number of sets and reps for every exercise.

These are all great habits that reveal that health and fitness is a priority in our lives. It's something that's important to us; therefore, we take the time to do the things that will cause us to be successful in our fitness endeavors-whether that's to gain muscle, lose weight, get stronger, or just be healthy.

And while there's nothing wrong with having healthy habits and focusing on our nutrition and workouts, as I talk about often, it can easily turn into an unhealthy obsession that can distract us from our real purpose in life. There is nothing wrong with health and fitness being a priority in our lives, but as Christians, it becomes a problem when we put fitness above our relationship with God. It becomes a problem when we become SO consumed with our health or our fitness goals that we neglect our time with God.

While we're doing all this food  prepping and workout planning, what are we doing to prep our minds and souls? Are we devoting just as much time and thought to how we can prepare ourselves for what the world will throw at us during the week? If our faith is important, if our relationship with God is truly the number one thing in our lives, there will be daily practices that reveal that. We will take the time to make sure that we stay focused on God and our spiritual fitness throughout the week.

The Bible tells us that we are to love God with ALL our hearts, minds and soul. We are told to seek His kingdom above ALL else. We are told that physical training is good, but that training for godliness is better. But do we really see it that way?  I think that often times, we switch those two around. We think that training for godliness is all good and everything, but our actions actually reveal that to us, physical training is better. Because we put way more time and effort into our physical training and our food and on how our bodies look than we do into growing our relationship with God and living our lives for Him.

If we're honest with ourselves, are we really putting our spiritual health first and foremost in our lives? Is it really the top priority? The way we'll know is by how much time we spend in prayer and Bible study compared to the time we put into planning our food and workouts and our time in the gym. Most of us spend multiple hours in the gym every week ...but then we can't get to church for ONE HOUR of the week? Something is wrong with that picture, ya think?
"Satan devotes 168 hours a week to trying to deceive you. Do you think you can maintain a renewed mind with a ten minute glance at God's book once a day?" -John Piper
And I'm not just preaching to you guys, here-I'm preaching to myself as well. Although I wouldn't say I'm as obsessed with fitness as I once was, if I'm honest, I have to admit that my time in the gym still usually outweighs my time spent in focused prayer and Bible study. I still often find my thoughts consumed by food and workouts more than the things of God. 

Many of us, including myself at times, see our Bible reading or prayer time as a chore, or something to just check off of our "to-do" list for the day. How do you think that makes God feel, just to be a side note in our lives, just a checkmark on a list? For us to truly thrive in our relationship with God, to continue growing closer to Him and letting Him do His transforming work in us, rushing through a devotional in the morning or at night before bed ain't gonna cut it.

It kind of puts it in perspective when you think about it this way: do you think you could get results in the gym from only devoting a few minutes a day to your nutrition and workouts? Yeah....no. The results would be minimal. Especially if you just go through the motions just to check it off  the"to-do" list for the day.

No, being healthy and fit requires time and effort. It's a constant, continual pursuit, striving to get stronger and make healthier choices. It's the same with our relationship with God-it requires time, effort, focus, and dedication over time. It requires setting time aside in our day, just like we do for our workouts, to spend time with God and to study His word. It requires not only reading and hearing God's word, but applying it to our lives.

Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and patience, so he doesn't get "mad" at us when we fall away or put other things ahead of Him. But He does want the best for us, and so He patiently waits for us to return to Him and to give Him His rightful place in our lives. And just like how our lives can drastically change when we choose to live a healthy lifestyle, our lives also change when we put God above all else.

What are some ways you can work on your spiritual fitness? Set aside an allotted time in your day, just like you would for a workout, to pray and read the Bible. Get up a little earlier if you have to. Instead of scrolling through Facebook throughout the day, use the Bible app to meditate on and try to memorize a Bible verse. Find an online Bible study to follow. The First5 app and Shereadstruth are good ones, or there are TONS of bible reading plans to follow on the Bible app. Make it a goal to get to church weekly.

Just like you can see the results of someone who has put in the effort to be healthy and physically fit, you should also be able to see the results of being spiritually fit. What would that look like? You'll have peace. You won't be stressed and anxious or angry and bitter all the time.  You'll be patient. You'll have contentment. You'll have joy. You'll have self control. You'll experience God's grace in ways you never have before, and you'll extend that grace to others. You'll have more gratitude. You'll treat others differently.  You'll have a different mindset and perspective than the world. Your priorities will be different. YOU will be different.

Comments

  1. So needed. Perfect reminder of exactly what God's been putting in my heart. Now, I need action! :) Just going to take it one day at a time. He'll be faithful to meet me where I am...He already has. Thanks!

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