No doubt you are inundated with guidance on staying physically healthy at the present time. We hope you are also joining believers everywhere in following the example of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) and besieging the Lord for an end to the coronavirus outbreak. Certainly these unprecedented times are giving us an opportunity to focus on our spiritual health. Teen camp director Matt Henderson continues today on that very topic.
Spiritual Fitness 101 – Out With the Bad
by Matt Henderson
We all know that when it comes to being physically fit, our diet is a huge part of the equation. We need to eat the right quality and quantity of food. We also must be diligent to get a proper amount of activity or exercise on a consistent basis. The formula is simple – eat right and exercise.
We also know that this applies to our spiritual fitness as well. We need to crave the spiritual milk of the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2, Romans 10:17), and we must put into practice what we learn from the Lord (James 1:22, 2 Peter 1:5-8).
I don’t know about you, but I definitely go through seasons where I feel great physically. I am getting plenty of rest. I have lots of energy for my family. I am super focused at work. I even eat healthily and exercise a bit.
But there are also seasons of sluggishness. It doesn’t matter how it begins, because it usually winds up with less activity and poor diet.
The ‘seasons’ also seem to last longer and can take their toll on my health. It is not uncommon for me to have a bit of residual ‘bio-junk’ that has built up as a result of my poor dietary choices. When I am motivated and start to right the ship, I need to address that build-up. I need to cleanse and purge it from my body so that it will function correctly. Have you ever felt this way when trying to get back into shape?
Once again, this situation applies not only to our physical health but to our spiritual health as well. And let me be clear on what I mean by ‘spiritual health.’ I am talking about our relationship with our Creator, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are times when we are walking closely with the Father. We are trusting Him with the smallest details, not just the major ones. We actually are craving spending time in prayer each day and all throughout the day. Our time in the Word is sweet and we have a growing desire to make Jesus known in our worlds.
But, there are times when we make sluggish choices as well. We might get a little overly confident in our own ability to navigate life. We tend to let down our guard against the attacks of the devil. We get busy. We get lazy.
But God is faithful! He works hard to ‘stir us up by way of reminder’ (2 Peter 1:12-15). He motivates us to get back into a right relationship with Him. And it starts over again. We set our alarms and get up and pray and read. We are intentional in our days to give thanks to Him for everything. We put our gospel goggles back on and do our best to make Him known.
And this is good. However, we might have some residual build-up. We may have some spiritual ‘junk’ that remains from our sluggish season of life. To put it clearly, we have sin that needs to be cleansed (James 4:8-10).
This happens to us all. It happened even to the heroes of our faith. Take King David. He had a season of sluggish decision making that led to grave sin. Ultimately, the Lord sent Nathan, the prophet, to stir David up with a reminder about how God feels about sin. I’m so thankful that the Lord included this story in His Word, because we get to see how David seeks to purge the sin from his life.
The Lord inspired David to write a psalm about this. It is our Psalm 51. The only way to get rid of our sin is to seek forgiveness (1 John 1:9). David, when confronted with his sin, was quick to confess it. He didn’t let it linger or last. He didn’t look past it or ignore it. He humbled himself before His God and asked God to forgive him, to cleanse him, and to restore their relationship.
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2
David was far from perfect, just like me. And, just like you. But, he also was very quick to seek reconciliation with the Lord by confessing his sin. He was not a ‘man after God’s own heart’ because he sinned very little. He was close to God because he didn’t let his sin linger.
How about you? How is your relationship with the Lord going? Are you feeling good? Is your faith strong? That’s great. Sing praises!! (James 5:13)
Are you in a season of being sluggish? Do you have any sin lingering that is hindering your relationship with the Lord? Remember, David sinned with his interactions with people – committing adultery and murder. Is your relationship with the Lord suffering because of any sin you have against your neighbor?
Don’t let the sin stay. Get it out. Cleanse your hands. Purify your hearts. Confess your sins to your Lord. He is faithful and will cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
Then, once that is taken care of – get back to the business of praising our God by making His Son, our Savior, known to the world. That is what healthy believers do.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You. – Psalm 51:12-13