My home gym contains everything I need to obtain and maintain good physical shape. The treadmill, elliptical and boxing bag give me great cardio workouts. The kettle bell, weights and stability ball give great strength training and toning. In addition to building physical strength, a healthy diet filled with the right balance of fruit, carbohydrates, protein and vegetables as well as one that avoids unhealthy foods can bring my body to a place of being in the best physical shape that is within my ability to control. Making the right choices with regard to what I put in my body as well as what I do to and with my body makes all the difference in determining my physical health. But it doesn’t happen accidentally. It’s an intentional choice on my part to be physically healthy.
Several of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions revolve around becoming healthier. (Lose weight, get in shape, quit smoking, and quit drinking). In general, we seem to understand the necessity for being able to operate at our best physically and how it impacts our ability to be successful and achieve what we want to achieve in life. We know that being unhealthy causes our body systems to become overloaded and even toxic, and we continue to at least acknowledge the importance of improved health by eliminating negative habits and increasing positive ones.
While shaping up by building muscle mass and getting healthy is worthwhile, spiritual fitness is even more crucial. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:8 that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding a promise for both this present life and the life to come.” No doubt that being healthy and strong physically has value; however, that value is limited because our physical bodies are limited… to life this side of heaven. Our spiritual health, on the other hand, holds infinite importance since it goes into life beyond the physical that we see now with our eyes and into eternity.
Knowing this, how can we place a higher priority on our spiritual health? Like the way I have stocked my home gym for physical fitness, using the right tools and equipment are also important for spiritual fitness as well. In addition, setting resolutions (or goals, if you prefer) and establishing healthy habits can also be helpful in becoming more spiritually fit. With that in mind, consider the following as a guide for creating spiritual fitness resolutions for this next year.
1.) Keep Your Bible Close – Yet even this isn’t quite enough. Opening it regularly is crucial as is actually reading the valuable instructions included inside for a godly life. What’s more is that receiving instruction from godly pastors and teachers can help propel you into a much higher level of spiritual fitness much like a personal trainer can take you to another level with regard to physical fitness.
2.) Prioritize Around God – Making God “a” priority puts him at the level of other priorities that fill your time. Instead planning around the things of God puts Him at a higher level and shows that He is not something to be scheduled but rather is something around which all else should be scheduled.
3.) Give Yourself an Attitude Check – Assess the state of your heart, your intentions. Does what’s going on inside of you fit with what the word of God indicates about what our attitudes should look like? (Print and read “Attitude – The Aroma of Your Heart” for a scripture study on what the Bible says about attitude.)
4.) Schedule Fellowship – Growth happens best in the company of others. You can read books about personal growth. You can read scripture about love. You can pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to work in you for change. But if you don’t interact with others, how will you ever know if you are growing? And, we can’t expect fellowship to happen by itself, especially in our busy culture. We must intentionally and deliberately put fellowship on our calendars on a regular basis.
5.) Do something! If what you’re doing isn’t working, do something else. If you’re doing nothing to change the path of your life, then do something. Set a goal. Have some area in which you are pursuing a more spiritually fit existence.
Spiritual fitness is all about getting in shape on the inside, and doing so involves an intentional effort on our part to become increasingly fit spiritually. And while physical appearance is not a factor in eternal destiny, our physical appearance can also have a significant impact in our lives before we get to Heaven. (Remember that I Timothy 4:8 says physical fitness is of “some value.”) Typically, what’s going on inside of us is reflected on the external through our attitudes and our appearance. Just a factor to consider.
Being spiritually fit creates an “aroma” or a “fragrance” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15) that indicates the state of our relationship with Christ. The question then for beginning a spiritual fitness program is to check your fragrance. What aroma are you giving off? What resolutions can you set to create goals that will help you become more spiritually fit? Start with the above guides as you consider your spiritual fitness plan for 2012 and consider how your spiritual sweat can be a sweet aroma to God.