Day Twelve – Spiritual Fitness
Fasting Date: Friday, February 16, 2018
“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.” (1Timothy 4:8ESV)
If you want to become physically fit, you know that it will take discipline. You will have to exercise to strengthen your muscles, even to the point of producing a little sweat and discomfort. The saying, “No pain, no gain” rings true. You also need to choose your foods wisely, to both decrease your weight and increase your energy. Getting in good shape simply doesn’t happen by eating donuts and watching exercise videos; it requires effort and intention. The same can be said for spiritual fitness; it is not something that happens accidentally and without discipline.
In the Christian culture, we sometimes get uncomfortable with the word discipline for fear that we will fall into a mindset of legalism. Because we want to celebrate grace and avoid the error of becoming religious rule-keepers, we get uneasy talking about anything that feels like something we are obliged to do if we want to be stronger in our walk with God. And yet, the spiritual disciplines (like fasting, tithing, studying Scripture, and praying) are not meant to be performed to gain God’s approval or to display our personal righteousness; they are various means of grace given to us by our God so that we can experience a deeper, healthier, and more stable walk with him. They are a gift to us from a Father who knows that slipping away from him comes naturally, but abiding in him requires effort. Fasting is a discipline designed not so we can wear the label of “good Christian” but so that we can be a more spiritually fit follower of Jesus. Fasting is simply one tool God has given us to help us sink our roots more deeply into him, and in doing so, to bear fruit in our lives that demonstrates that we are his disciples.
Reflection: Would you say that you place a greater emphasis on physical fitness or on spiritual fitness? What is one “discipline” you could add to your life to help you grow stronger in your walk with God?