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Spiritual Training Cycle: Examination (wk. 8/13)


There’s a “good” me and a “bad” meI travel regularly for my work. And I always have good intentions. Squeezed in alongside my business attire and dress shoes, I make sure to pack workout clothes and gym shoes. Additionally, the resolve to eat healthy while on the road is front-of-mind for me as I head to the airport.


Then I get to the airline club at the airport. With free snacks and cokes, including my favorites, chocolate-covered raisins. Strike One. That’s okay, because when I land and head to the hotel, I aim straight for the fitness center downstairs.  Until I walk past the TV in the hotel restaurant with my favorite team playing a game that I don’t want to miss.  Strike Two. No problem – I’ll set my alarm for an early-morning workout.  But the next morning when my alarm goes off, I roll over and catch a few more minutes of sleep.  Strike Three.


True confession: on my last several work trips, the workout clothes and gym shoes never made it out of the suitcase.  But I have enjoyed a few too many chocolate-covered raisins, cokes and staying up late watching sports.


I often feel like echoing the words from the Apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans when he says, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Chocolate covered raisins, sports on the big screen, an extra few minutes of sleep and the “bad” side has won out again.


I suspect my example is not an isolated one.  What story could you tell of your “bad” you?


Fifteen workouts a monthThis is particularly frustrating to me because I like to set goals.  One of my physical goals for this year is 15 workouts a month.  That goal becomes pretty challenging when the workout clothes don’t make it out of the suitcase.


We need one anotherWhich makes my friendship with people like Jerry, Austin, and Jill all the more important to me.  These are fellow athletes at the gym I belong to. They notice when I’m gone. I get text messages from them when I miss for several days. They encourage me when I show up. Their accountability and encouragement drive me back to the gym - and my goals - every time I get off the road.  They help me be the “good” me I aspire to be regarding my athletic goals.

The author of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament wrote about this very thing when he challenged his readers to become the best spiritual version of themselves by staying close to other followers of Christ:

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25


If having a community of athletes around helps us to move toward our physical best, how much more important is a spiritual community to help us become the best version of who we are as spiritual beings.


Questions for Reflection:

How does living in a spiritual community help you grow?


What can you do better to live this out?


How can you “stir up” and “encourage” one another in your spiritual community?

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