Those who know me, know how little interest I show in sport or any athletic event. At school I tried hard to avoid any such activity which wasn’t absolutely compulsory. Nevertheless, I have had three very sporty boys and have supported them, watching many a school Rugby match and school sports day. So, I have learned what is involved in achieving any measure of success in sport.
I know that training and practice are crucial to success in any aspect of sport or athletics, whether it is football, swimming, gymnastics, horse riding or motor racing. All the reports and interviews with sportsmen and women show that their success required commitment, perseverance and endurance.
The Apostle Paul likens the spiritual life to an athletic event for which we need to engage in regular training. So, how do we do that? I suggest the first thing is to ensure having a regular time each day set aside to focus on God’s Word. Also, it’s equally important to pray regularly and, when led to do so, fast.
Worshipping God, either on our own or with others, is essential in any spiritual training routine, as well as exercising any spiritual gifts that we may have, when and wherever appropriate. This all helps us to develop and maintain our spiritual wellbeing. Our spiritual muscles are ‘toned’ by communicating with other Christians, meeting with them whenever possible. (Although this could be difficult during present Covid conditions).
How we spend our leisure time affects our spiritual health, fitness and wellbeing. We need to be discerning in what we read, watch or listen to. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says, ‘fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable and think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise’ (Philippians 4:8).
Those are a few of the ways in which we can develop our spiritual strength and stamina. But as we ask the Lord, He will reveal other ways which are appropriate to us and to where we are on our walk with Him.
Paul also says, ‘So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should’ (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). With God’s help, may we do likewise, and then one day we will be able to say like Paul, ‘I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful’ (2 Timothy 4:7).
May the Lord help us all to become fit for His purpose.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me to become more disciplined in the things I do that will help me to be of better use to You. Help me to focus on those things which really matter, and which will help me to become spiritually fit and more like the person You intend me to be. Amen.
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