As we come to the end of another calendar year and prepare to begin anew, many of us will make resolutions and set goals for ourselves to achieve in 2017. I am told that January 2d is the busiest day of the year for gyms since many people resolve to “get in shape” as part of their self-improvement plan. Being a gym rat myself, I certainly appreciate the goal of physical fitness and Scripture tells us that our bodies are temples and we should not do anything to defile them. Achieving a healthy physical lifestyle is indeed a worthy goal and one which is decidedly difficult, but I would challenge you to strive for a much loftier goal. A goal which will provide for you both immediate and eternal benefits – becoming more spiritually fit. Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 4:8: For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
We don’t want to neglect our bodies, but even more so, we must not neglect our spirits. I recently read an article by Christian author and counselor Chris Russell. He gave four reasons why we need to work on our spiritual fitness:
1) Your eternal life depends on it.
The life we spend on this earth is nothing compared to the eternal life we will enjoy with God in heaven someday. At least this applies to those of us who have put our faith in Jesus, the Son of God, and have called on God to rescue us (Romans 10:13).
2) Your current happiness depends on it.
When I was young, I used to think that Christianity was all about the “next life.” But over time, I came to learn that the Christian faith also has everything to do with enjoying a joyful, meaningful, happy life NOW. There is no greater life than a life that is lived walking with God…TODAY!
3) Your family depends on it.
If you’re not willing to take care of yourself spiritually for your own sake, I would still implore you to take care of your spirit for your family’s sake. Your kids need to see you walking with God. Your siblings need to see you walking with the Lord. Your parents will benefit when you are doing well spiritually. Your cousins and grandparents and nieces and nephews will be blessed when you are well spiritually. And it could be that you will be the only “Bible” that they will ever “read.” So do not neglect your spirit.
4) The world depends on it.
I often wonder how many unbelievers trip over unhealthy Christians when they are stumbling away from God. This world needs to see Christians who are healthy, passionate, and genuine. We are God’s vehicle for His message of love to those who are lost. But we must be healthy if we are going to effectively deliver that message in a way that will change lives forever.
Physical fitness is important. But spiritual fitness is even more important. So make plans to strengthen your spirit today! Let’s begin by resolving to pray for the blessings and concerns of our congregation.
-Pastor Dave Jones