Summary: This message compares being physically fit with being spiritually fit.
Are you Spiritually Fit
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: I personally think Paul was a sports fan. He used several sports analogies throughout his writings. For instance: In 1 Corithians 9:24-27 He says,
“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win.” 1 Corithians 9:24, The Message
All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 1 Corithians 9:25, The Message
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! 1 Corithians 9:26, The Message
I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping,”
1 Corithians 9:27, The Message
And then towards the end of his life and ministry Paul wrote:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2Ti 4:7 NIV
Now turn with me to 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (Read NIV First)
I like the way the Phillips translation translates verse 7, It says,
Take the time and the trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.” 1 Tim 4:7
Paul understood that in order for a Christian to be ‘spiritually fit’ that it was going to take some time and commitment. That it doesn’t just happen.
I also want to share with you two additional translations of verse 8, The first is from the New Living Translation and the second is from the Message Paraphrase of the Bible.
“Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next”. NLT
“Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever” The Message
I believe it’s pretty obvious from reading these passages of Scripture that the Apostle Paul new the importance of being both physically fit and spiritually fit.
Physical Fitness is a multi-billion dollar business in America today. Gyms and Health Clubs are almost as plentiful as churches. Not to mention all of the workout videos and equipment that you can buy from wal-mart, late night t.v infomercials, or even off the internet. But despite the Physical Fitness craze in America, according to the World Health Organization, over 74% of adults in America are overweight. Why is that?
Well, I can only speak for myself here. I started a new diet and workout program about 6 weeks ago but before that I guess I made every excuse in the book for not doing it. I didn’t have time to go to the gym…, it was easier and quicker to just go through a drive through than to cook…, it was harder to lose weight because I’m older than I used to be, an on and on. But the sad truth of the matter is that I was either in denial, or was just too lazy to do anything about it.
1. I had to face the reality that I was overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy. I had to admit that I had a problem. I had to consciously draw a line in the sand and say okay that’s it I’ve got to do something I’m tired of being overweight.
And guess what. No one could make that decision for me. My doctors had told me that I needed to loose some weight. Mary Anne had encouraged me to lose weight but it wasn’t until I got to the point that I wanted to put the time and effort into losing the weight that it actually started to happen.
2. I had to make some changes.
I couldn’t keep eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Not only that I couldn’t just sit around watching t.v. and expect to lose the weight I needed to lose.
3. I had to change my habitats. I was used to drinking 3 or 4 diet cokes a day. Now I usually only drink one a day. Before I began this diet, I rarely drank water before, now I drink at least 6 or 8 glasses a day.
4. I had to change my attitude…I had to stop being satisfied with the status quo and take some responsibility to actually do something about it. I had to make a commitment to do whatever it takes to lose the weight.
I had to change my priorities. I had to make ‘exercising’ one of my top priorities. I had to make a commitment to myself to work it into my schedule whenever I can.
I had to discipline myself. I couldn’t eat what I had been used to eating. I had to give up sweets, bread and potatoes. If I by the girls some donuts from Sweet Sue’s for breakfast I can’t eat any of them, and believe me that’s not easy, it takes all of the discipline and self control I’ve got.