Summary: Calorie counting and exercise are important but the road to health starts much deeper.
How do you keep fit?
I heard yesterday that someone from our church - who should know better – spent an hour on the lounge room floor recovering because he had worked too hard in the gym!
A number of our men are into bike riding – push bikes that is. And I know a number of you hit the gym.
As I’ve reflected on how to keep fit this is what I have discovered - - calorie counting and exercise are important but the road to health starts much deeper. Real health begins in the soul, and if you want to be fit for life you have to begin by building your spiritual muscle. To do that we must first understand that there are three levels of living and that everyone chooses at which level they will live. What are these three levels of living? Well Paul pointed them out in our reading for today (i.e. 1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Level 1. A LIFE SHAPED BY EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING
At the lowest end of the scale is a life that is shaped by everything and anything.
The apostle Paul said ...
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales … (1 Timothy 4:7a)
Friends, you know as well as I do that you can’t build a healthy body by eating fairy floss and donuts. If you want to be physically healthy there certain foods and substances that you just have to refuse – there are certain things that you just should never absorb into your body.
Just like an athlete can’t build a healthy body by eating anything and everything in sight, you can’t build spiritual muscle if your life is being shaped by everything and anything.
If you want to grow faster as a Christian and if you want to accomplish more for God, then you have to reject lies; you have to say “adios” to fairy-tales; You have to ditch unhealthy thinking.
I’m not saying you have to check your brain at the door. But we do need to be very discerning about who we listen to and what we take on board as our life principles.
It’s important for us to know the lies of the devil – but it’s quite another thing to allow those lies to influence us.
I have a friend who is a scientist. In his work he often has to handle dangerous substances; hazardous specimens that may carry bacteria or disease; and he has to handle chemicals and poisonous substances. Now, it’s one thing to understand and to handle these things but there’s no way he’s going to allow them to get into his system.
No-one can maintain good physical health unless they monitor what they take into their body – or if they’re reckless about what is absorbed into their body. The same is true for us spiritually. We’ve got to monitor what we take into our mind and perhaps more importantly, what we take into our heart.
In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul warned Believers not to be ...
[… no longer be] infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14 NIV).
You see, an organism will grow if it is kept healthy. You will grow if you are spiritually healthy. You will overcome more if you have spiritual muscle. And you will accomplish great things for God if you are spiritually strong and healthy.
And the same is true for your church - for us here at ABC. Only the sound healthy teaching of the Word of God can keep a church healthy, strong and growing.
As we take a look at the churches that are in decline in Australia today it is by-and-large those that have diluted their doctrine in an attempt to make it more palatable to the world – e.g. some churches deny the deity of Jesus Christ; deny miracles; some churches accept immorality among their leaders; churches that deny the resurrection. These are – for the most part – the churches that are dying.
Let’s take the denial of the resurrection of Christ as an example. Believe it or not, some churches teach the lie that the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was not real. Now this is a serious error – and it’s not a new one either. Paul wrote about it in the New Testament. He said …
If there is no resurrection, there’s no living Christ. And face it – if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors .…. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first of a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries (1 Corinthians 15:12-20 Msg)