Exercise Daily in God–No Spiritual Flabbiness Please!

a-ministers-spiritual-workoutSocial networking sites are flooded with all sorts of challenges–ice bucket challenge, worship challenge (which was really a singing challenge), and even a grown and sexy challenge, but I’m about to tell you about a challenge that will revolutionize your life if you participate.  I call it the spiritual fitness challenge.  It is designed to help you get in shape for spiritual warfare.  

For the past week I have been doing this challenge myself.  What I’ve found is that my mornings are not as rushed, my mind is clearer, and I am even getting to work on time.  Go figure.  I have begun to refer to these moments as dates with God.  The reason I started doing this is because I’ve noticed in my own life more of a dedication to working out and a sporadic tendency to study scriptures, but I haven’t done anything concrete recently to switch the dynamic.  Last week my pastor preached a message entitled “What Shall I Render?” about offering God the best of what we have that solidified for me the need for change.  Four months ago I made a decision to change my life by working out regularly and eating more healthy.  Now I decide to change my life in a more significant way by exercising in the Word–DAILY.

1 Timothy 4:8 (KJV) says, For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

The Message Bible states it more plainly.  “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.”

I desire a more spiritually disciplined life.  I know that it is of the utmost importance for a believer.  But knowing it is not enough. I must not just talk about it, but be about it.  By the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I will be about it. If I can develop a habit of working out my body, I know I can develop a habit of working out my soul salvation.   God has been so good to me, and he deserves the best of me, not my gym or anything else I spend time doing.  So I’ve created a spiritual workout plan very similar to the one I use at the gym for those who need a place to start.

WHO and WHAT

Every born-again believer needs to engage in ongoing communication with God.  It is not enough to be saved.  That is only the tip of the ice burg.  God created you to honor and represent Him in the earth, but if you haven’t cultivated your relationship with him, you cannot effectively do either of those things.  We must yield ourselves to be used of Him. Otherwise, you will a saved person being used of the devil.  What a waste of God’s saving grace and His divine inheritance.  We should take full advantage of our God-given rights to peace, wealth, prosperity, and every other good gift the blood of Christ has secured for us.  But the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12 KJV).  Building up ourselves daily in the Word through spiritual discipline is what it takes to win against spiritual forces that violently oppose us.  It is also not enough to engage in conversations about God with others if you’re not also supplementing that with study on your own and regular church attendance.  Let me make this clear.  There is no substitute for the literal Word of God being preached and taught to you and read and studied by you; for faith comes by hearing and hearing by THE WORD OF GOD.  As far as equipment goes, all you need is a Bible (paper or electronic version is up to you), a journal or notebook, a pen, a concordance, and an open heart.

WHERE

Communicate with Him in the closet, by the bed, in the kitchen or the bathroom. Do it anywhere, but just do it.  God will meet you wherever you are.  Make sure the spot you choose is quiet and free from distractions.  I do not advise you, however, to lie in bed though for obvious reasons.  Sleep will overtake you.

WHEN

I think it is important to communicate with God first thing in the morning.  Jesus prayed early in the morning.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35 NIV).

That is the time where you have less distractions (the husband and kids are asleep, the house is quiet, the phone is not ringing or chiming with Facebook and e-mail notifications, the computer is not on, and your mind is the most clear).  It is offering God the first and best of your day.

WHY

Why do people follow workout programs in the first place?  Because they don’t know where to start, to get guidance through an unfamiliar process, to do what works. That’s why I sought one.  These are also some reasons people hesitate to establish a solid study schedule for the Word, not to mention that although the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).  The good news is the stronger your spirit is the the less your flesh will be able to control you.  That strength comes by being in His presence and in His Word.  It can seem a bit overwhelming to do, but you cannot let that stop you.  My apprehension of gym crowds almost made me quit going, but once I found a workout program I liked and felt comfortable with I followed it to the letter and soon a habit developed.  Even though there were days that I did not feel like going, I did anyway because I began to see results.  It feels good when your hard work pays off.  Making the decision to give God more time will be hard work at first.  Our adversary, the devil, will do anything he can to throw us off course. Distractions, trials, laziness, sin, and procrastination are all tools in his arsenal that he will fire in our direction just to keep us from truly getting to know our rights and privileges which are found in the Word.  You cannot claim or possess what you do not know belongs to you.  You cannot exercise rights that you do not know are yours.  You cannot benefit from an inheritance if you do not access its funds.  Finally, you cannot maintain growth if you do not consistently do what caused growth in the first place.  So of course he doesn’t want us to obtain the knowledge of the truth. Pastor Ed Schneider, M.P.Th. sums it up perfectly by saying, “The Devil has got to be absolutely gleeful at the way some of us Christians act as we continually contribute to our own spiritual demise” (Originally posted on Growing in Christian Understanding).  Please don’t be a party to your own downfall by staying disconnected from God, your life source.  Pushing past the obstacles he puts in your path will pay off.

HOW

Each day I weight train, I focus on a particular muscle group–shoulders and arms, legs, back, or chest.  So begin by identifying what spiritual element you want to focus on each day.  It could be something that you are believing God for in your life (ie. divine health and healing, prosperity, peace, a new job, salvation for a family member, etc.). This may change depending on how the Holy Spirit is leading you, but do have a focus in mind to begin with rather than reading chapter by chapter of the Bible randomly.  It may make your time more productive and meaningful to you.

prayer

Training Schedule:  10-15 minutes

  1. Warm-up–5 minutes of Praise and worship. Begin by telling God what you appreciate about Him.  Tell Him how good He is to you and thank Him.  This really does rev you up for the time you will spend in His presence.
  2. First exercise–Read and Reflect on the Word.  Choose a scripture or two that address what you are focusing on for the day.  If healing is your focus, choose healing scriptures such as Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24 and read them.  A concordance will come in handy for this.  Reflecting on what you’ve read by writing about it in a journal/notebook is also a good way to cement what you’ve received from God and to chart growth or progress.
  3. Second exercise–Pray.  Ask the Lord to help you apply the Word you just read to your day and life.  For example, start praying with this.  “Lord, I thank you for your Word.  I ask that you help me have the faith to walk in the healing you’ve promised me.  I resist every sign and symptom that contradicts what your Word says.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”  I would also pray in the spirit during this time to ensure that you have prayed according to the perfect will of God (Romans 8:26-27)
  4. Third exercise–Confess.  Make a personal confession about what you read.  For example say, “I am healed by the stripes of Jesus.  I am walking in divine health.  Every organ and tissue in my body functions in the perfection that God created it to function.  No sickness can come on me.  I am redeemed form sickness and disease.”  Confession brings possession.
  5. Cool down–Acknowledge God.  End your time by thanking God for meeting you in your quiet time or sitting in silence to hear Him speak to you.

You might be thinking, Do I really need a step-by-step plan for spending time with God?  Well, think about it this way. Is it better to have a plan or no plan at all?  Will your time with God look exactly like this everyday?  Of course not. This is just a starting point, and that’s what I want to challenge you to do–start.  Sometimes we can be so concerned with failing to live up to God’s standards that we don’t even try.  The Bible says “draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8 a).  Once the presence of God begins to meet you there, all sorts of things start to happen.  Your emotions may get stirred up and result in uncontrollable tears or laughter.  You may lose track of time because you are enjoying the sweet communion and fellowship with Him.  You may not even get past the praise. Or you may end of switching the order of things altogether.  And all of that is good as long as you get it in.  God just wants us to establish a sacred place in our hearts and day just for him.  That is why we were created in the first place.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9 KJV).

“I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:6-7).

Repeat this cycle for 7 days.  Use the same focus or a different one.  Like with any workout routine, if the intensity wanes, increase it either by doing this several times a day or by increasing the amount of time you spend doing it (move from 10 or 15 minute increments to 20 or 30 minutes increments and slowly progress).  You can even add more to your training repertoire like meditating on the Word throughout your day, writing prayers to God, listening to music, or singing. There’s really no limit to where your worship time can take you.  The key is to make a decision and stick to it. Just make sure you have properly prepared for this because you don’t want anything to get in the way of this commitment.  If you think that you will forget, put it on your calendar and set a timer to remind you.  If you think that you may be too tired to get up earlier than usual, try your best to get in bed at an earlier time.  If for some reason your schedule gets thrown off, make it up at a different time of day or simply do a shorter version.  JUST GET IT IN!  It’s imperative to your spiritual and natural well being.

So if you are sick of carrying the excess weight of the burdens and cares of life, sick of being weary and worn out by trials and tribulations, and sick of being weak and powerless against the attacks of the enemy, then lose the weight, build up your spiritual endurance and increase your strength in the Word of God.

I challenge you to join me in this spiritual fitness challenge for the next week, and find someone to challenge also.  I’d love to hear how this worked or didn’t work for you, so please share your comments.

I’m just sayin’.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: