Summary: Some steps to spiritual improvement.

INTRO.- ILL.- A patient said to a nurse, "Nurse, I’ve got a bad case of arthritis. There is also a buzzing in my ears. I have a sprained ankle. My thumb is out of joint, and I see spots before my eyes."

The nurse replied, "Wow! You must be awfully healthy to stand all that pain."

As we age we begin to experience more pain, but we certainly don’t want it! We wish and hope for some kind of remedy or relief.

ILL.- An elderly gentleman went to see a doctor for a checkup. On finishing the examination, the doctor said, "You’re as fit as a fiddle. You’ll live to be eighty."

The man said, "But I am eighty years old!" The doctor smiled and said, "SEE, WHAT DID I TELL YOU?!"

Most of us would like to live to be eighty, that is, if we could be healthy at that age.

ILL.- Doctor to patient: "Sorry, but right now you’re not in good enough shape to get in shape." That’s probably true for many people.

ILL.- A doctor said to his patient: "I want you to follow this diet, and in a couple of months, I want to see three-fourths of you back here for a checkup." DID YOU GET THAT?

I did some figuring and 3/4’s of me would be plum skinny!

ILL.- Mark Twain once said, "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like and do what you’d rather not." In some ways, this is true.

ILL.- It is said that the percentage of American’s who own running shoes but don’t run is 87%. What does this mean? It may mean that we want to look athletic, but we don’t want to do anything about it.

When it comes to our health, most of us would like to improve. We’d like to lose weight, get fitter, feel better, have more energy, etc. There is no doubt about it. Americans need to shape up! Most Americans are overweight and out of shape. Americans, for the most part, are not healthy.

Can this change? Can we change? Can we get better? Healthier? Yes, better health is attainable for almost everyone. But it must be a change of the lifestyle, not this quick, overnight weight loss program that so many people are looking for. A change of lifestyle must take place for any person to become healthier.

The kind of lifestyle that brings good health is: more vegetables and less meat. More fruit and Less fat. More water and less soda. More walk and less talk. More walking and less driving. More stairs and less elevators. More exercise and less sitting. More work and less laziness. More energy and less tiredness.

It is attainable. Better health is attainable. But remember, it has to be a change of your lifestyle!

I Tim. 4:8 "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

Better physical health is great, but better spiritual health is even better! Growing spiritually will help you here and now and will give you a home in heaven! You get the best of both worlds!

And better spiritual health is attainable. But again, it has to be a change of our lifestyle. Everyone can grow spiritually or in their relationship to Christ. We are encouraged and challenged to grow in Christ.

II Pet. 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..."

Peter is saying, "YOU do something to grow in your relationship to Christ."

Christian growth is not automatic. We don’t grow like flowers in the spring. It’s more like someone putting out a garden. There has to be planting, watering, cultivating, etc.

Christian growth comes when we water and cultivate our own lives. When we attend to Bible study, prayer, worship, and do Christian things. If these things are not present in our lives, there will be no growth!

Sometimes we get a bit aggravated with those who don’t seem to be growing in their relationship to Christ. Other church members, maybe even our leaders, or it could be our own family members.

ILL.- Thomas a’Kempis, the German scholar, said, "Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be."

Before we go preaching to others, we need to preach to ourselves. Before we insist on progress in others, we must insist on it in ourselves. I am painfully aware of this truth. I am here to preach to me more than to you!

PROP.- Let’s think about some steps to spiritual improvement.

1- Examination (examine your life)

2- Execution (execute your plans)

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