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Summary: How to develop spiritual muscles.

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Exercising Unto Godliness

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (1Ti 4:7-8)

I. Bodily exercise/Spiritual exercise

a. Will to do it

i. Order: 1) Will 2) Do it 3) Results

ii. You must be born again/you can’t practice what you have never started (godliness)

iii. Learning about exercise (or sport) is not exercise

1. No pain, no gain

b. How to do it

i. Prayer, Bible, Fasting, Community, Preaching, Communion, Works of Mercy

c. Discipline

i. Trouble getting started – Trainer/Church

ii. Trouble getting motivated – Get encouragement from fellow Christians/Read inspirational stories

iii. Trouble with boredom – Try groups/Try changing your setting

d. Search out and remedy weaknesses

i. Analyze the cause of failure

e. Watchfulness concerning diet

i. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:14)

1. Use the grace/light that God has given you

ii. Bad to be refused

iii. Good to be sought

1. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phi 4:8)

2. Good vs. Better

a. “Approve things that are excellent” Phil 1:10

f. Consistency

i. Muscle memory

ii. “Religion is a process repeated, not a process remembered” – C.M. Lamson

iii. “In one of my early pastorates I asked one of my parishioners how she was getting along in her Christian life. She replied: “Very poorly. My life is a disgrace to me and to the church; it is a disgrace to Jesus Christ. I don’t understand why it is.” “Do you study your Bible every day?” I asked. “Oh, no; but I study it occasionally, when I have time.” A little baby was lying in a baby-carriage near by, and I said: “suppose you should feed that baby once in two hours today and once in six hours tomorrow, then let it go without eating at all for three or four days because you were busy, and then go back and feed it every two hours the next day, and keep up that process; do you think the child would grow?” “No,” she said; “I think the child would die under that treatment.” “And yet that is just the way you are treating your soul.” – R.A. Torrey, D.D.

g. Persistence through difficulties

i. Get stronger or get weaker (“upward” calling)

II. Benefits of Spiritual Exercise

a. Growth in grace!

i. He gives more grace to those who use the grace they have received

1. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (Mat 13:12)

2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (Joh 15:2-5)


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