“Take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.” 1 Timothy 4:7
Physical fitness: what does that look like? According to my university professor the number one component of physical fitness is cardiovascular health—your circulatory systems ability to deliver oxygen to your body. And the number one way to achieve “heart health”…CHOOSE TO MOVE! You have to invest time and energy by moving your body and exercising your heart. It doesn’t happen unless you take the time and trouble to keep yourself physically fit.
Spiritual fitness: what does that look like? According to scripture God’s number one goal for us in “spiritual fitness” is to “become more like Jesus Christ” (Rom. 8:29) in thought, perspective, conviction, character, and conduct—our lives increasingly look like the life of Christ being lived in and through our lives. And the number one way to achieve “spiritual health”…CHOOSE TO MOVE! You have to invest time and energy by moving your heart and getting close to Jesus. It doesn’t happen unless you take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.
Physical fitness plans are everywhere. No so for spiritual fitness. Let me give you a brief and basic plan for spiritual fitness that incorporates the components of spiritual fitness I outlined this past Sunday in my sermon “Our Life Together” (see sermon notes link below):
· Invest 15 minutes daily in “time alone with God” by reading the Bible and praying with God with the goal of being in God’s presence and doing one thing he tells you to do (click here to see one suggestion for having a daily devotional)
· Learn to “practice the presence of God” by pausing periodically during the day for moments of spontaneous prayer and meditation (click here to see how a “daily office” can teach you this habit)
· Connect weekly with a “growth group”—a small group committed to balanced growth through involving yourselves in the priorities of Christian fellowship (click here to see a “daily office” that highlights the SERVICE priorities of Christian fellowship)
· Serve weekly by giving yourself away in a God-called, Spirit-gifted ministry that builds up the church and furthers God’s kingdom (combine this with your “growth group” or “worship” to “multi-task”; click here to take a free online “spiritual gifts” inventory)
· Celebrate weekly by worshipping together with our church family with the goal of being inspired to loving Jesus more deeply
· Commit regularly (at least monthly) to intensive scripture and/or scripture-based studying that encourages personal growth in areas of specific need
· Give yourself quarterly (one morning or evening) to demonstrating compassionate care through hands-on, face-to-face ministry to the needy
· Set aside annually a weekend or a week for participating in a mission project locally or internationally
You might be thinking: “You’ve got to be kidding! That’s too much time and effort.” That depends: what is your goal. Have you committed yourself to “following” Jesus…learning to love him and to live like him? If so, then these are the ways that we stay close to Jesus. Tell me, which one of these can you leave out and still be like Jesus? Which of these is “optional” in our life of “following” Jesus?
You might be thinking: “There’s no way that I can rearrange my time to include ALL of those things.” That’s probably true. You can’t just make it happen overnight. That’s unrealistic. But, what ONE THING can you replace in your current schedule with ONE THING that will contribute to your spiritual fitness. One thing! That’s it. Start with one step…then another…and before you know it, you’ll be following Jesus.
And that’s what our life together is about—following Jesus…not alone or in isolation…but together. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes: “If we want to hear his call of discipleship, we need to hear it where Christ himself is present…within the church.” The discipline of discipleship is not an “individual sport” but a “team sport.” Spiritual fitness requires that we…as individuals…take the time and trouble to keep ourselves spiritually fit, but we are not alone. We have the Spirit motivating us from within and one another encouraging us from without.
Join us as we follow Jesus, together, with the help of his Spirit, practicing the discipline of discipleship.
Walking with you,
Scott Corwin, Pastor
Sermon Notes: Our Life Together