A few years ago, shortly after quitting my corporate job to move into ministry, I invested in hiring a personal trainer. It seemed like the perfect time to start a new health and exercise regimen, since I had more time on my hands than ever before, and I knew I had let my physical health go downhill due to the stress, hard work, and many hours required in the demanding position that I held.
One of the first discussions I had with my trainer, was about my current exercise regimen. She wanted to know how often I typically exercised, what types of exercise I engaged in, what were the intensity of the workouts, and what were the durations of time that I typically worked out. (and at that point in my life, the answer to these questions were all similar – zero!) But they were all basic considerations that she needed to know in order to form a good plan for me to move forward with and begin to improve my physical health.
In my Proverbs 31 devotion that is running today, I talk about the importance of caring for Gods temple, our bodies, since He resides in us, through the impartation of the Holy Spirit once we accept Jesus as our Savior.
The devotion used eating fast food as a bad example of taking care of our bodies, and being that we live in a body-conscious society, most of us are aware that fast food (especially double baconator hamburgers!) should be avoided at all costs. I think I can say with confidence that each of us know and understand the importance of eating right and exercising, even though those priorities can sometimes take a back seat in our lives.
But our physical health is not the only important thing to consider, with respect to taking care of ourselves. Our spiritul health is equally, if not more, important.
When considering our spiritual health, some of us might be quick to say that we try to do all the things that we should be doing to have a prosperous and fulfilling relationship with Christ, while others may admit to not making faith a priority, simply due to busyness, boredom, or merely not understanding the importance of spiritual health.
Accepting Jesus as our Savior is the first step towards spiritual health, but if we stop there, then we are missing out on the joyful life that God planned for us, and will never really grow into a thriving follower of Christ.
Lets take a moment to apply those personal trainer questions that I mentioned above, to our spiritual health regimen.
Read these questions below and consider what your honest, personal answers would be:
1) How often do I spend time doing spiritual things (frequency)? (Once per week, every day, every few months, or only when life gets hard?)
2) What types of things do I engage in to make my faith a priority? (praying, attending church regularly, fellowshipping with other Christians, serving others, sharing the gospel, reading GodsWord, scripture meditation, attending Bible studies, etc.)
3) What is the intensity of those faith workouts? (Do I feel closer to God and inspired in my faith walk after spending time with God, going to church, serving others, etc., or do I feel uninspired, bored, and feel like my time could have been better spent checking off my to-do items?)
4) How long do I typically engage in these activities? (Do I pray for a few minutes in the shower, or carve out committed time for prayer and conversation with Christ? Do I spend dedicated time in Gods Word, or glance at it on my way out the door or during church?)
You see, just as a sound physical exercise regimen would include pondering these questions, our spiritual exercise regimen should as well – because the two regimens are more closely connected than you would think.
Many research studies have shown that there is a connection between optimal spiritual health, and optimal physical health. Why? Because when we consider how our bodies are Gods temples, and begin taking care of our physical bodies, it is as a result of our growing respect and honor for our soveriegn God, and our desire to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
As we get to know God more intimately, and embrace the truths found in the Bible, we become more likely to live according to its principles.
As we begin to recognize Gods presence within us, and His unconditional love for us, we will begin to make better choices in our every day lives – not merely choices about eating healthy or how much we are excercising – but about the choices that we make in all areas of life. Choices that can either glorify God, or pull us apart from Him by giving in to daily temptations to sin.
I can speak from first hand experience, that years ago, when I began to desire to make my faith a bigger priority in my life, my spiritual health gradually improved. As a result of that, I also began to be more concerned about keeping my physical body healthy too – after all, how can we do what God calls us to do if we are not taking care of ourselves in every way?!
Take a few minutes today to consider how you can begin taking better care of your health today – your spiritual health and your physical health.
Pray for the motivation, inspiration and desire to do better in both areas, and ask God to give you a thirst for working on any areas in your life that might be out of shape, or be in need of a fresh exercise regimen.
Remembering that we are Gods dwelling place, and being aware of His presence within us will empower us to live for God and achieve the purposes that He has ordained just for us.
If you havent done it in a while, take some time to work out today – spiritually and physically – and kick off a new workout routine for your life today!