Students are radiating an obvious excitement now that we have entered the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. It is a time of family and friends and thankfulness to God. And, of course, there is an overabundance of turkey, ham, pies, and sugary delights! Somewhere in all of the excitement, there may be the passing thought of staying in shape!
So, what does it take to stay in shape? Generally speaking, two main ingredients are proper diet and exercise. It is sometimes the case that once a sports season is completed an athlete will “take a break.” Instead of working daily to stay in shape, he becomes a couch potato. He discontinues regular exercise and doesn’t pay attention to what he is eating. Usually the rationale is, “I have worked so hard during the season; now it is time to rest!” Unfortunately, that rest often extends until the next sports season, at which time the athlete returns terribly out of shape!
The same concepts apply as we consider the need to stay in shape spiritually. It takes hard work to stay in shape physically. It takes discipline. Similarly, it takes hard work and discipline to stay in shape spiritually. It does not just happen! Spiritual diet and exercise are vitally important.
In the past, Dr. Sam Horn shared a verse that sticks in my mind. Acts 2:42 relates, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Dr. Horn gave four principles from this verse that should help us stay in shape spiritually. We learn that the disciples continued steadfastly. In other words, they worked at it!
Principle 1: First of all, there was a commitment to the Word of God. They continued in the apostles’ doctrine. We must daily feed upon God’s Word to remain in shape spiritually.
Principle 2: They maintained the right kind of fellowship. There is strength and encouragement in godly fellowship and friends. As we serve others, we will find, in turn, that God blesses us through the encouragement and fellowship of our friends.
Principle 3: There is a need for spiritual accountability. We read that they continued in the breaking of bread. Communion is a time of self-examination and forgiveness. To stay strong spiritually we must be accountable to God and to others. Before breaking bread, we thank the Lord for His provision as we recognize our total dependence upon Him. These same thoughts are reflected daily in our mealtime prayers.
Principle 4: They continued in prayer. Prayer is the vital lifeline of the Christian. It is our direct connect to God! Prayer is hard work and takes discipline.
What steps are you taking to stay in shape spiritually? Please pray for our students over the next weeks that they will realize the importance of staying in shape spiritually.
“But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 15:57-58)