Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 9/13)
A personal best deadlift. A faster benchmark workout time. Getting a strict pull-up. I hear phrases like this all the time as athletes verbalize where they want to go. And I think it’s awesome! I encourage them to set new goals as they strive to push themselves beyond their personal limits. But nothing happens without the work. You can dream all you want of a heavier deadlift. You can even visualize it coming off the ground as you stand tall. But if you’re not under the barbell working those reps and sets, a heavier deadlift will always remain just a dream. If you want to grow, you have to let the work do its work. Fitness is simply the overflow.
Some days, the hardest work you’ll do is getting to the gym. Your mind has the potential to deliver you or derail you. It can fill you full of positive thoughts like: “You got this,” or “You get to see your friends,” or “You are never sorry when you go to the gym.”
But it can also fill you with negative thoughts. That same brain can tell you: “You’re tired,” or “One day off won’t matter,” or “You deserve a recovery day.” The overflow of consistency in fitness training is the work you do between the ears. And no matter how long you’ve been on this fitness journey, mindfulness still matters. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it!
Mindfulness is also a critical component of spiritual fitness. You can dream all you want about becoming a calmer, more relaxed person, but if you don’t fill your mind with the work and Word of God, then don’t expect much. This is why we’ve been studying meditation all month.
Biblical meditation is a focus on God, His Works, or His Word, and a deep reflection on His truths. The idea of meditation is to become absorbed in the fabric of God with the end goal of turning the thoughts about His truths into actions evidenced in your life. For the last few weeks, we’ve been reading from the same passage of Scripture, Psalm 19. Psalm 19 shows us how to practically apply the spiritual exercise of meditation.
Begin with creation. Fill your mind with all that God has done in nature. It’s pretty amazing! Watch how God restores nature after a disaster. Notice how nature moves in rhythm with God and the seasons of the year. The leaves on the trees are the overflow of work in the roots you’ll never see.
Then fill your mind with God’s Word. The Bible will reveal something new to you every time you read it. New insights and new mysteries await you in the best-selling book of all time. The Word of God is active and alive, which means it has the potential to bring new life to your soul.
Finally, just enjoy spending some quality time with God. As you consider all that He’s done or talk to Him about what He’s going to do, your heart becomes full. Mindfulness gives way to heartfulness, where you now experience God in a more complete way. The result of meditation is a life of love, joy, peace, and so much more. Meditation is the work. The results are the overflow.
Questions for Reflection:
What most helps you fill your mind with the things of God?
What does the overflow of God look like in your life?