My upper arms have become flabby through age and lack of weight training. Muscle slackness is easy to see, those old lady arms right there every time I even consider a sleeveless blouse.
Is it rectifiable? Oh yes, certainly. And I WILL address it, despite my dislike of exercise.
Every aspect of our life is our spiritual gymnasium.
We’ve probably all become a bit spiritually flabby. For instance, when we think that reading our Bible is an enormous requirement, that’s flab. Attending church has become an obligation? We’re unfit. Not praying daily? Slackness.
Do you intersperse your day with small prayers? Or start your mornings prayerfully lifting up your family, friends and needs of your church family? Do you read the Scriptures, visit the sick, attempt to walk in the fruit of the Spirit and talk about your faith with others? If not, flabby.
Today I sensed the Lord’s concern with our spiritual flabbiness because of the serious ramifications. We are ineffective and vulnerable if we lack strength.
Our daily time with God is a serious appointment that must be kept. Or do you view it as a casual, penciled in meeting that can be cancelled depending how you feel? Feelings are fickle … but I don’t feel like reading my Bible, I hear someone whine.
Undisciplined Christians do not have regular Bible reading times. If the Word is the bread of life, chock full of wisdom, going without it leaves us malnourished, underfed and weak.
Weak Christ followers are like stragglers, not walking in step with the Lord (ouch). They’re following behind … at first a few steps, then as time progresses, a few feet, then those feet become blocks. They can see Christ, but are not close enough to hear His whispers.
We live in dangerous times where life is fragile. One or two bullets or a bomb can alter everything. We must live in tune with Holy Spirit, sensitive to His leading and prompting. Since 9/11, Americans realize we are in a for keeps, life-or-death fight to the finish.
People, this is a hard message that I’m not delivering from a superior or condescending perch. I’ve been both a straggler as well as one who walks in step. But Jesus is deeply concerned that we stay spiritually fit. He is such an amazing, loving friend that He will use every vehicle at His disposal to reach His stragglers.
Confirmed by a Dream
God gave me a dream message last night advising me to concentrate on godliness training now, because we are certainly in times when people are departing from the Christian faith. I knew it referred to 1 Timothy 4 (ESV):
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
I also like the way The Message version words it:
The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth … You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. 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. You can count on this. Take it to heart.
No Lone Rangers for Jesus
We are not alone in our spiritual striving. We train together as the Body of Christ. One of the best ways to train for eternal life is to have teammates who are striving for the same prize. They encourage us, challenge us, pick us up when we have fallen, and help us to keep our eyes fixed on the prize. They help us to STRIVE.
Today the Master is asking you to accompany Him on a morning walk through His Word.
He has something specifically for you there. It doesn’t require special shoes or clothing. Jesus loves coffee time in pajamas. Sounds silly, but I know Jesus notices pajamas because He once mentioned a pair of mine with flowers. I’m chuckling just typing the memory. That’s how real He is. He’s after relationship, authentic conversation that occurs consistently.
I challenge you this week – as I feel His Spirit urging us all to daily exercise in God to rid ourselves of spiritual flabbiness. Make a plan and work your plan to incorporate time spent developing godly discipline, making yourself fit both today and forever, ready at a moment’s notice to perform prayer warfare. Pick up where you left off – or – let this be training day one!
1 Timothy 4 also uses the words: practice, immerse yourself and persist in these things so all may see your progress. Let’s decide to be strong, healthy, robust and vigorous Christians, prepared in top form, ready for deployment! As trained Ephesians 6 troops, our prayers will be sharp, finely tuned arrows hitting the mark and our Spirit-led deeds highly effective, no longer religious rituals. Boots on the ground, soldier!