Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 4/13)
I’m assuming you are reading this because you are on a spiritual fitness journey or perhaps you came across this page by accident and don’t know what that even means. If you are new here let me remind you that spiritual fitness is the development and consistent practice of exercises that connect you to God. Much like becoming physically fit, the more consistent your effort, the more healthy habits you develop along the way, the more fit you become.
Scripture is the foundation of spiritual fitness just as movement is the foundation of physical fitness. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but muscles don’t come in a pill or an injection and there really is no quick and easy way to truly become fit. Fitness takes intentional movement daily whether that be in the form of a group fitness class, lifting weights, cycling, swimming, running or just simply going for a walk. To become spiritually fit you need intentional and consistent time in God’s word, a daily bread if you will.
Most people start their fitness journeys in a quest to simply look better. They see fitness magazine cover models and want to look like them or actors on screen with chiseled abs and want to follow whatever workout routine they’re doing. The drive to look better motivates us to start. And then over time we realize it’s not enough to just move your body, you also have to be mindful about what you put into your body with the sole motivation still being to look good or better than you do right now.
However, most people who have been into fitness longer than 5-10 years have discovered that the motivation to just look good begins to transform beyond that. We also appreciate feeling good and that almost becomes more important. Looking good in addition to being able to sleep better, breathe easier, having more energy to run around with your kids or pets – truly becoming physically fit encompasses what’s going on externally and internally together.
You can skip the movement piece altogether and just go on a diet and sure you’ll probably look good, but that doesn’t mean you are physically fit. You can go to church and that’s great but the act of going to church doesn’t mean you know Jesus. To be fit you need movement. To truly know Jesus, you need Scripture. In John 5:36-47 the Jews are questioning Jesus because He was breaking the Sabbath (performing miracles), calling God His own father, and making Himself equal to God (v. 18). They were seeking the truth through various laws and scriptures but when it came to fully knowing Jesus, they fell short.
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40).
I can imagine Jesus’s frustration when speaking to these men; like how many times do I have to tell you I am who I say I am? How many other people need to testify about me before you fully believe? It’s like when people ask me how to lose fat, get more muscle, and how to get in shape. How many more times or how many different ways do I need to tell you to eat more protein, lift weights that challenge you, move your body, and prioritize sleep?? The formula really is quite simple yet we make it so complicated.
The formula to knowing Jesus? Scripture. The more time you spend in God’s Word, the more you begin to know about Him. His ways, His truths, His victories, His track record and every single time they point us to Jesus. We no longer just want to “be good” for Jesus. Rather the Scriptures and our relationship with Jesus changes our hearts so that we consistently choose to do good. It becomes second nature much like working out. The longer you’ve been in the fitness game the more you realize how much you need it. Fitness becomes second nature; your body doesn’t feel the same when you choose to neglect it. Just as our hearts don’t feel the same when we choose to neglect Jesus and His God-breathed Word that He has given to us in the Bible.
Deciding to read the Bible is very intimidating much like stepping into a gym. I get it. It took me nearly forty years to finally decide I would get up early every morning to read the entire Bible in a year. But guess what happened along the way? I started looking forward to my quiet time with God, reading His Word. The days I skipped my Bible time didn’t flow quite as well as the days I started with it. I began to develop a deeper understanding and trust in all areas of my life for God and His plan for me.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you start to truly know Scripture by reading the Bible? One page at a time.
God’s Word is transformative, it frames our worldview of how we live our lives with intention, it meets us where we are, and it points us to Jesus. Get to know Him; start today.
Questions for Reflection:
Where can you build time into your day to spend reading and studying Scripture?
What’s the difference between being good and choosing to do good? Which do you relate to in your faith journey?