Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Exercise Bike

It sits upstairs. In the room that we’ve nicknamed “the blue room” sits our newest addition to the Richard household. It is the exercise bike that my mother-in-law gave to us. It’s big and heavy, and it didn’t get upstairs to the blue storage room easily, but it got up there. It’s a nice bike. It has a nice digital display that estimates calories burnt and the speed one is riding. Plus I like the nice fan effect from the blades on it. It even has the cross-country ski style handles to work the upper body. Finally, I have just what I need to get back into the shape I should be in.

So, why don’t I get up on that thing and exercise like I should? There it sits in the blue room, but I don’t grace its comfortable seat for any workouts. If it weren’t for my wife, it would be a huge dust collector. I have been given the equipment needed to exercise, but I don’t seem to be motivated enough to do it.

We do the same thing spiritually. We have the Spirit of God indwelling us. We have the Bible sitting on our nightstands and bookshelves. We have access to the Father through Jesus Christ. We have our praise and worship CDs, prayer journals, devotional books, online sermons, not to mention our churches. Most of all, we have the freedom to use these, yet they sit as unused as my exercise bike upstairs. I think that there is a spiritual problem at work here. It’s called laziness, and my first finger point is at myself.

Did you know that the Bible tells us that we should exercise spiritually? Really, it does. We’re saved by grace through faith, but to grow in our faith, we have to intentionally work at it. Just listen to Paul:

“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.” 1 Tim. 4:7-8

To exercise means to exert yourself, to strive. It means to vigorously work yourself into shape. If you want to lose weight, you have to really exercise. Spiritually speaking, we exercise when we spend time with God in prayer. We exercise when we take the time to have meaningful worship. We exercise when we put into practice the word of God, doing what it says, not just hearing it. We exercise when we get together with other believers and encourage one another.

Another problem is that we are constantly looking for shortcuts and easy ways to get in shape. How many weekend and late-night infomercials have you seen that advertise “quick and easy” ways to shed off the pounds? Ab-rollers and Ab-sliders may have some benefit, but not without the additional discipline necessary. There are no shortcuts to physical fitness, and there are no shortcuts to spiritual fitness, either. If you want to be strong in Christ, you have to get busy and exercise. Look, God uses Joyce Meyer books and CDs, but if that is all you do to strengthen up, you’ll won’t get yourself into the shape you need to be in.

Of course, we have to eat right, too. That is why it is so important to fill ourselves with God’s word. There is so much junk out there that we seek to fill our spirits with. From the shows we watch, to the books we read, to the music we listen to, we fill our hearts with the spiritual equivalent of pork rinds. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. When we take the word of God into our hearts, we are giving our spirits the proper nourishment to strengthen up.

So, do you have an unused exercise bike in your life? Are you sitting on equipment that you can use to get yourself into better shape spiritually? Are you as stationary as that bike? Then it’s time to get on the bike and “lay aside the weight” as it says in Hebrews 12:2.

God bless


Neil said...

Good Word! We can't expect God to everything, He expects us to help Him out!

Darrell said...

I have found myself using this phrase a lot lately... "God is waiting for you to give him something to work with." In other words, we can't sit back and expect God to do it all for us. He gave us authority and power in Jesus name, and he expects us to use it! To me, this is critical. Jesus did not save us to sit here and take up space waiting for his return. He saved us and dwells in us to continue his work through us. He said, "occupy" until he comes. Webster says that "occupy" means "to engage the attention or energies of".
We are to be busy. This spiritual exercise really is much like physical in that the more we exercise, the stronger and more proficient we become at it.
If we will just begin putting some action to our faith... the Holy Spirit moves, and the miraculous occurs.

ruthrap said...

physical laziness can cause heart problems, spiritual laziness can cause the heart to harden...we all need a good "spiritual workout" every day!

JimmyBob said...

I once bought a piece of exercise equipment on an impulse buy. I was home by myself and happened to be watching one of those infomercials. It cost me $750!

My wife was upset when she found out, but I assured her that we had "30 days to send it back without getting charged."

Long story short, we kept the machine but didn't keep using it. I have to admit, it was a good workout, but we got lazy. What a waste of money! After a couple of years we ended up donating it to our apartment complex.

Lately, God has been showing me again the importance of prayer. He paid a high price so that we could use our equipment (prayer & study of the Word). It was through His death on the cross that a new and living way was openened up for us to enter in. No longer do we need to rely on the High priest to offer up prayers/sacrifices on our behalf. We have the privilege of entering His presense boldly ourselves!

Man, I need to take more advantage of that (I'm getting a little spiritually flabby). Time to exercise.