Preparing for Spiritual Fitness

When someone decides they are going to become physically fit there are certain preparations they will have to make. They will have to have the right kind of shoes, clothing and know what they are going to do to become physically fit. They will also have to be mentally prepared for the challenges of becoming physically fit. In a lot of ways, being mentally prepared is the most important part. If your mind isn’t in it, you won’t do what is necessary to be physically fit. If your mind isn’t in it, your body won’t stay with it.

Becoming spiritually fit requires the same sort of preparation. This is particularly true when it comes to being mentally prepared. The Bible tells us what we need to do so we can be mentally prepared.

“… exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)

The first thing the Bible says we must be prepared for if we are going to be physically fit is exercise. The Greek word that is used here was originally used when speaking of athletes preparing for a contest. It speaks of physical exercise in order to be conditioned and prepared for the contest. The New American Standard Bible translates this word as discipline. Becoming physically or spiritually fit will require discipline (exercise) on the part of the person seeking to get fit.

A former Mr. Olympia was once asked about the secret to being a bodybuilder. He answered, “There is no secret. Unless you consider hard work and discipline a secret.” What is true for bodybuilding is true for spiritual fitness. There is no secret. You do the basics that produce spiritual fitness and you do them again. If you want to be spiritually fit you must prepare yourself for exercise.

“… exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)

You cannot hire someone to exercise for you. You can hire a personal trainer to show you what to do. You can have a partner encourage you to keep it up. But in the end, YOU are the one that will have to do the exercises if you want to be physically fit.

This is also true with spiritual fitness. No one can do the spiritual exercises required to be spiritual fit in your place. You can have an accountability partner. You can have a friend you “workout” with. You can go to church. But in the end, your spiritual fitness depends on YOU consistently doing the spiritual exercises that produce spiritual fitness.

“… exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)

Those who are successful in becoming physically fit have a specific goal in mind. They don’t merely want to “lose weight” they want to lose 30lbs. They don’t merely want to “be in shape” they want to be able to run 5 miles in 50 minutes or less. They don’t merely want to “be strong” they want to deadlift 400lbs. They have a goal in mind and the exercises they do are geared toward helping them achieve these goals.

All those who are concerned about being spiritually fit have one goal in mind, being godly. A good question is, what does it mean to be godly? One of the best explanations of it I’ve ever seen comes from Chuck Swindoll.

A ‘godly’ person is one who ceases to be self-centered in order to become God-centered. Christ became a man and, as a result of His earthly ministry, we see how God intended for humans to behave. Jesus is our unblemished example of godliness. Therefore, a godly person is a Christlike person. Our goal as Christians to become like Christ.”[1]

Being like Christ is our goal in spiritual fitness. Everything we do in seeking spiritual fitness is for the express purpose of helping us become more like our Savior. This will change us in every area of our lives. Growing in Christlikeness will change our morality, our attitudes, our reactions and our priorities. Growth in godliness is valuable in this life and in the life to come.

Are you prepared for spiritual fitness?


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, So, You Want To Be Like Christ?, pg xv

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