A Spiritual Workout
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor
“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”- 2 Thessalonians 2:15
In some of my previous devotions I’ve written about my habit of working out during the week, and my time at the gym has taught me a few important lessons. First, never go running after eating Mexican takeout unless you want to experiences some excruciating gastro-intestinal distress. Second, always know what a machine does before you try using it or you may end up looking like a complete idiot. Finally, and most importantly, all exercise takes commitment and perseverance. You see, we live in a world that is obsessed with immediate results.
Don’t believe me? Look at the TV commercials that promise rock hard abs in thirty days, or the diet plans that promise to slim our waistline after a week of light work. We are all looking for an easy way out, but if you really want to become strong and healthy, it takes many days of hard work. The same is true for spiritual workouts, just read 1 Thessalonians 5,
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:14-28
I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted just reading that passage. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop it from being true. Save for the grace of God, there are no magical fixes in life. If you want to get physically healthy it means running, dieting, and doing a whole lot of heavy lifting. If you want to become stronger in Christ, you can’t just rely on going to Church each Sunday.
Growing closer to God means forgiving your enemies, encouraging others, and praying continuously day after day. It’s some serious work, and there will be moments when you may get discouraged, but over time when you look back at the things it has allowed God to do in your life, you will know that it was all worth it.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Think of one way you can improve your walk with Christ and put it into action.