Think of someone you know who is in really good shape. What did they do to look that way? It probably took countless hours of running, strength training and eating a healthy diet. Often, we are inspired to work out and get fit when we see athletes and people in really good shape. (I know I am!) We may even ask a friend who is in good shape if they will go with us to the gym because they are knowledgeable and know how to make the most of a workout. Some people will even hire a personal trainer because he or she has good tips, will help you be effective and would correct you if you are doing an exercise improperly.
In our culture, even in the Christian culture, so much emphasis is placed on the external and “getting in shape”. Yes, we should take care of our bodies because they are the temples of the Holy Spirit, but have we taken the time to think about what it looks like to become “fit” spiritually?
1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.”
“So where do I start?” Well, much like you will not turn into an Olympic athlete overnight, you will not become an expert on God right away. Training is not always easy. It’s hard to find time to get to the gym in the midst of a busy schedule. Similarly, we may think, “I don’t really have time to have a 30 minute quiet time with God every day!” That is an excuse. You will always have time for what is important to you. I have friends who are dedicated, college athletes and they wake up at 4:30am to go to practice for 3 hours before starting their classes. If people can be that dedicated to a silly sport, we can be that dedicated to the God of the universe! We must be focused and determined!
Make time to read the Bible daily—this is how you hear from God and learn about Him. Start small and work your way up. If I wanted to run a marathon, I would start by running a mile here, 2 miles there and slowly work up to it. Most people cannot just sit down and read through the whole Bible in one day. Read a chapter (or less) and really soak in the truth and then maybe try a couple chapters the next day.
Grow your prayer muscle! Make time to just be still in the presence of God. Confess your sins to Him and let Him take away your anxiety and fears. He loves you and is eagerly ready to hear from you.
Fellowship with other believers (which can be in a church setting, but doesn’t necessarily have to be) is a great way to get helpful tips from other “fit” Christians who are further along in their walks with the Lord and can give you godly advice. They can also help you become aware if you are “exercising” wrong. Often times, pride and self-centeredness can creep in and we need someone to call us out on it in a loving way.
This idea of becoming “spiritually fit” is especially important for anyone who is a leader in the faith. I would never ask for training advice from someone who is lazy, never goes to the gym and eats ice-cream sandwiches every night. If you are in a place of leadership you need to be “working out” spiritually every day! You are a spiritual trainer which is a bazillion times more important than a personal trainer—so take it seriously!
When I think of someone who is spiritually fit, I think of our founder, Autumn Miles. She is devoted to God. She doesn’t make excuses. She has a deep, intimate relationship with Christ. She works hard because she is filled with vision and purpose and God has refined her and shaped her to become a strong and effective leader. She has inspired me, more than she will ever know, to keep pushing on and never give up.
-Karinna Johnston, intern