I lived most of my life with a flabby body. As a young adult, I was strong and athletic…but, as life became more full, exercise was one of the easiest things to drop. And, as such, my body lacked tone and muscle. I lacked physical strength and stamina. I was flabby.
A few years ago, I began to exercise. At first, I did cardio and then added light weights. After just a few weeks, I found that working out paid huge dividends. I began to see changes in my energy level, physical strength and mood. Exercise was no longer something I could just toss away. I just felt so much better. It made the early morning commitment, pain, and sweat so worth it.
The other day, I was considering this progression from flabby to fit…and it dawned on me that there are other areas of my life where I see “flab.” For example, lack of discipline in the stewardship over my home. I can look around me and see an excess of unnecessary “stuff.” I really do desire to sift through it all and purge…yet, I don’t. Flab.
Which leads me to think…how fit are we spiritually? How active are we in working out a strong relationship with God? Do we invest the time in God’s Word, our true source of stamina? Are we exercising and sweating it out in prayer? Are we obeying God, dying to self and living for His purposes? Are we spiritually toned?
…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.
“Work out” literally means to work until it is done. It is clear that this is a call to something I must do. How does a Christian “work out” their salvation? Read His Word daily. Be intentional in prayer. Talk to Jesus constantly. Obey Him. Always. Serve His body, the church. Love God. Love people. Live set apart from this world…all of this to the glory of the Lord.
As tempting as it is to groan at this hard work…we are to work out our salvation with an attitude of sober reverence for God Almighty and complete dependency on Him. Jesus Christ is not someone just for us to admire and take His commands as mere suggestions. Check out Revelation 19:11-16 for a refresher of His stature…and stand in awe.
To be spiritually toned is a long-term strategy. You don’t become toned overnight or only through training in short bursts. And, any lapse in training will quickly lose gains. Being toned is a daily strength-building program, essential to living a full life. Jesus says in John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus did not come to this world for me to have a flabby, weak, less-than life. He came so that I could have life to the max, lacking in nothing…an “at capacity,” fully saturated life rooted in a relationship with Him. Just like exercise, this takes work on our part.
But, a life of faith is not just us “doing more.” If that were the case, we would all just fail miserably and sit around flabby in faith and miserable in life. God knows that about us. And, as such, God says He works in us to complete His “good purpose.” What does that mean? It is everything! Philippians 4:19 says God meets all of our needs…including my spiritual fitness…out of His glorious riches in Christ. We just need to cooperate with His work in us and “work out” what He “works in.”
We build up our faith in partnership with God. Jesus is faithful to complete what He starts in us. As we study His Word, we desire more of Him and less of ourselves, increasing our spiritual fitness. As the things of this earth grow strangely less enticing, our spiritual endurance grows. As we obey Jesus’ instructions, we loose our heavy burdens. As we go to Him first with our problems instead of others, we increase in our spiritual stamina. As we press on each day toward the goal of a Christ-toned life, we will experience life to the fullest…all by His grace and to His glory.
As you consider your own state of spiritual fitness, where do you find that you are spiritually flabby? Will you, right now, ask Jesus to fill you with the grace that you need to tone that area of your faith? And, will you, right now, commit to doing the needed exercises to become “CROSS-fit?” God is for you in this… strengthen your faith and give God all the glory (Romans 4:20)!
Blessings and hugs,