3 Keys to Physical and Spiritual Fitness
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3 Keys to Physical and Spiritual Fitness
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 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 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). 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). 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).
• 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).
• Over a period of time the planet will become enormously fruitful and productive (Amos 9:13).
• People of all nations will dwell together in tranquility and no longer learn war or experience its tragedy and torment (Micah 4:3).
• Additionally the nature of animals will be changed so they will all coexist peacefully (Isaiah 11:6-8).
• Plus, the world will be filled with “the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).
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).
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). 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).
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). 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). 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).
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, 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; see also 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:7). 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; 2 Timothy 4:8).
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 35:1–2; Isaiah 35:10; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10). 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; Ephesians 4:24; John 15:12). Doing all this requires that you humbly rely on God’s strength, guidance and wisdom, without which you are utterly helpless (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).
Finally, God wants you as one of Christ’s disciples to “bear much fruit” (John 15:8). If you are faithfully doing so, He will reward you according to your work (Revelation 22:12). 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 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!