3 Keys to Physical and Spiritual Fitness

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3 Keys to Physical and Spiritual Fitness

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During an appointment with his doctor in October 2012 Randy Halverson weighed in at 329 pounds. Not only was he significantly overweight, but he was also diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, prediabetic blood sugar levels and other ailments. Facing this alarming situation, Randy determined to get fit.

Employing a diet high in fruits and vegetables and walking on his treadmill six days a week, he lost 130 pounds within a year. His blood sugar and cholesterol levels returned to normal, and his other ailments became virtually non-existent. His waistline shrank from 56 to 34 inches. Following his success Randy wrote: “My outlook and attitude are vastly improved! I’ve begun a journey that I believe will continue for the rest of my life.”

Today’s fitness plight

While Randy Halverson expended energy and determination to restore his health, others who ought to be doing so are not. Although heredity, age, disability and other conditions are limiting factors for some people, a major reason others lack fitness is that they simply don’t take personal responsibility. A February 2011 Harris poll found that 73 percent of adults who set a fitness goal as a New Year’s resolution quit before accomplishing it!

Just as it is impossible to become healthy by merely reading books or articles on physical fitness, you cannot develop spiritual fitness by simply reading the Bible or listening to sermons. Rather, you must apply what you are learning by energetically doing the will of God.

To build good health and fitness, people need to carefully manage their diet, nutrition and exercise. The website MedicalNewsToday.com stated on Dec. 10, 2014: “Since 1990, obesity has increased 153%, from 11.6% to 29.4% of adults,” and “physical inactivity remains high at 23.5% of adults.”

In a Dec. 18, 2013, LiveStrong.com article, “Importance of Exercise and Eating Healthy,” author Carly Schuna wrote: “In conjunction with regular exercise, a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers. If you’re overweight, eating healthfully and exercising regularly can help you lose weight safely and keep it off. If you don’t have a weight problem, physical activity and a healthy diet can help you maintain your current weight and reduce your risk of gaining weight as you age.”

Three vital keys to fitness

If you want to begin a fitness program, be sure to first consult your doctor for guidance. Additionally, you can find many books, videos and Internet articles to determine a method that could be most effective. The following advice from FamilyDoctor.org may be helpful:

“Choose an activity you like to do. For example, if you have arthritic joints, swimming might be a good option. Exercising with a friend or relative can make it more fun. Vary your routine. You are less likely to get bored or injured if you have some variety in your exercise routine. Walk one day. Ride your bicycle the next. Don’t get discouraged. It can take weeks or months before you notice some of the benefits of exercise, such as weight loss.”

Besides following such counsel, there are three keys that can help you accomplish your fitness goal. These are:

1. Sustain a clear vision.

2. Be fully committed.

3. Exert maximum effort.

While these keys can aid you in building physical fitness, they are significantly more applicable in developing spiritual fitness. As 1 Timothy 4:8 1 Timothy 4:8For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
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explains, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”

Taking good care of your body, mind and spirit is vital because you owe it to not only yourself and those who depend on you, but especially your Creator. Why? Because He literally owns you as your Maker and Redeemer! As 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? 20 For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
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says: “You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit that you received from God and that lives in you. You don’t own yourselves. God paid a very high price to make you his. So honor God with your body” (Easy-to-Read Version, emphasis added throughout).

Becoming fit for the Kingdom

Jesus Christ spoke about people not being “fit for the kingdom of God” if they were “looking back” to their former life (Luke 9:62 Luke 9:62And Jesus said to him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
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). The Greek word for “fit” is euthetos meaning “suitable or useful.”

A person seeking the Kingdom of God would not be considered spiritually “fit” if he was not engrossed totally in pursuing his divine vocation. If he begins “looking back,” perhaps longing for his former way of life, or if he becomes indifferent or careless about his calling, he would render himself unqualified for eternal life.

In this regard, let’s examine the three keys cited earlier to determine what you need to do to be fit for the Kingdom.

1. Sustain a clear vision

Thousands of years of history have demonstrated unmistakably that human beings are incapable of properly governing themselves. But this problem has a marvelous solution. Jesus Christ, at His second coming, will replace every human government with His dynamic and benevolent rule (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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). Cherishing and sustaining this magnificent vision of God’s coming divine Kingdom is essential in your quest for spiritual fitness.

This vibrant, exciting future includes the following biblical facts that should continually inspire and motivate you.

• At Christ’s return He will remove the wicked influence of Satan the devil and his demon cohorts (Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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).

• After that significant event, Jesus will direct a complete transformation of the earth and human society. The world’s desolate wastelands will be renovated to become like the Garden of Eden (Isaiah 51:3 Isaiah 51:3For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
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).

• Over a period of time the planet will become enormously fruitful and productive (Amos 9:13 Amos 9:13Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
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).

• People of all nations will dwell together in tranquility and no longer learn war or experience its tragedy and torment (Micah 4:3 Micah 4:3And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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).

• Additionally the nature of animals will be changed so they will all coexist peacefully (Isaiah 11:6-8 Isaiah 11:6-8 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatted calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
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).

• Plus, the world will be filled with “the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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).

Under Jesus Christ’s leadership, wonderful blessings of righteousness, peace and prosperity will encompass the lives of all people. To be spiritually fit, you need to treasure this breathtaking and sure vision of the future. Doing so will help you maintain a confident and optimistic outlook as you make every effort to live your life in godly righteousness in this current evil age (see Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
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).

2. Be fully committed

Jesus Christ explained that being absolutely committed to God and His way of life is a crucial requirement in building spiritual fitness (Matthew 6:24 Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
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). He will not settle for distracted, halfhearted, conditional service. Anything less than our best effort is unacceptable.

Jesus underscored this point when He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [material needs] shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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).

Jesus cautions you to examine your priorities to determine whether you are truly devoted to seeking His Kingdom and following His way of life (Matthew 10:37-39 Matthew 10:37-39 37 He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.
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). There is nothing more important you can do than to place your life in the service of the Master of the entire universe (Matthew 13:44-46 Matthew 13:44-46 44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
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). A fabulous reward awaits you, which is worth far more than anything you could ever imagine, if you remain unconditionally committed to God (Colossians 3:23-24 Colossians 3:23-24 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ.
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).

3. Exert maximum effort

As Jesus Christ illustrated, those called to follow Him needed to fully and steadfastly focus on and pursue the life ahead that God was calling them to. Likewise, in your quest for the Kingdom of God you must exert maximum effort as you “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 Philippians 3:14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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, King James Version).

In doing so you need to grow daily in grace, knowledge and the “patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” while exercising living faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3 1 Thessalonians 1:3Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
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; see also 2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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; 2 Corinthians 5:7 2 Corinthians 5:7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
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). In applying these qualities you must be willing to sacrifice in an all-out effort to obey God to obtain the “crown of righteousness” (Romans 12:1 Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
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; 2 Timothy 4:8 2 Timothy 4:8From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing.
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).

Indeed, the very purpose for your life is to prepare for a responsible position of service and authority in God’s coming peaceful global society (Isaiah 35:1 Isaiah 35:1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
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2; Isaiah 35:10 Isaiah 35:10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy on their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
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; Revelation 1:6 Revelation 1:6And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
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; Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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). Becoming spiritually fit for those eternal responsibilities requires that you pray daily for God’s mighty help while studying the Scriptures and putting them into practice.

Moreover, you must “stir up the gift” of God’s Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of “righteousness and holiness,” which includes service to others (2 Timothy 1:6 2 Timothy 1:6Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
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; Ephesians 4:24 Ephesians 4:24And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
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; John 15:12 John 15:12This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.
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). Doing all this requires that you humbly rely on God’s strength, guidance and wisdom, without which you are utterly helpless (John 15:5 John 15:5I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
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; Philippians 4:13 Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
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).

Finally, God wants you as one of Christ’s disciples to “bear much fruit” (John 15:8 John 15:8Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.
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). If you are faithfully doing so, He will reward you according to your work (Revelation 22:12 Revelation 22:12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
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). And that is the vital point in taking good care of yourself both physically and spiritually.

Just as it is impossible to become healthy by merely reading books or articles on physical fitness, you cannot develop spiritual fitness by simply reading the Bible or listening to sermons. Rather, you must apply what you are learning by energetically doing the will of God. As James 1:22 James 1:22But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
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explains, we must “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

So is anything holding you back? To obtain God’s Kingdom and His righteousness you must sustain a clear vision, be fully committed and exert maximum effort. If you apply these critical keys you can be spiritually fit now and forever!