We have all had times where we have been in a regular pattern of exercise and felt better for it. I am also sure we have had those times where our diet has consisted of more sugar or fat than it should do and we have felt sluggish as a result. It is like this in our lives too.
Earlier this week I typed out some thoughts about what drives us and our call to live passionately. To live passionately and to live passionately for God can be two different things. Passion drives us but it can drive us in the wrong direction. I think of the food example up above: we are driven to eat in order to restore our bodies but our bodies need more than just any old energy source; they need the right nutrients in the right quantities. Eating too much chocolate and not enough vegetables will result in sluggishness of body and mind.
The same can be said of our spiritual life. If we put the wrong energy sources in then our relationship with God will become sluggish. If we watch unwholesome T.V. programs then that content is what our minds will dwell on. If all day we ponder on our problems we will forget the greatness of God and rather than turning to Him in trust we will allow our molehill to turn into a mountain.
What about exercise? It has a similar affect to eating the wrong foods. If we don’t put in the exercise then our spiritual muscles will wither away. We cannot build a relationship if we do not invest in the other person. If we do not read God’s Word how will we learn of His character and nature? If we do not meet with other believers how can we function as the body of Christ? If we do not spend time in prayer how will we know what God wants to say to us? How can we live out His command to love others if we do not consider them or ask what their needs are?
We also have to make sure it does not become about works. Salvation is through grace alone – by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sin. We live in a way pleasing to God because of love for Him not to earn forgiveness or the praise of man. An attempt to work in ‘payment’ for God’s love can become the source that fuels our motivation. It is the wrong fuel source! – like putting unleaded petrol into a diesel run car. I’m no mechanic but I know that would not end well!
I don’t want to make suggestions because that would also be about works. However, I will give you an example: for Lent this year I have given up Facebook. Facebook has been a wonderful blessing to me over the last four years as it has enabled me to put up photos for people back home and keep them updated as to what I was doing in a very accessible way. But recently Facebook has become a detractor rather than a facilitator and so it is going for 40 days to put it back into its right place.
You know what exercise you need to take up, how you need to refuel and what wrong fuels have been entering your tank.
Seek out the right fuel sources to grow in your relationship with God and remember to exercise!