Recently I’ve been thinking that I need to get more physical exercise than I usually get walking from the couch to the refrigerator. So every night, as I’m getting ready for bed, I tell myself that I’ll wake up early the next morning and take a walk around the neighborhood. However, every time the alarm goes off in the morning, I come up with some reason to not actually get up and follow through on the commitment I made the night before. The whole experience has taught me two things: one, I’m not good at staying disciplined when it comes to physical exercise; and two, I’m really good at coming up with excuses at the last minute.
The upside of this experience is that it has reminded me of the importance of staying disciplined in the part of life that’s more important than the physical - and that is, the spiritual. The reality of living the Christian life is that, if we want to resist the attacks of the enemy, then we need to be disciplined in exercising our "spiritual muscles". 1 Timothy 4:7-8 puts it like this, “Train yourself to be godly. 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.”
In that verse, the Apostle Paul challenges us to train ourselves to be godly. And he does so because he knows that godliness doesn't come to us naturally - we have to train ourselves in it. And we do that by intentionally focusing on God, and allowing His Holy Spirit to help us make the right choices in our lives, moment by moment, instead of giving in to what our selfish nature wants to do.
However, at the same time that we're strengthening our spiritual muscles, we must be careful about what we're allowing in to our lives. Think of it like this - Olympic athletes go through intense training programs that involve strenuous physical exercise. But at the same time, they commit to a highly disciplined lifestyle. So proactively, they work their muscles, while at the same time, they abstain from things that would weaken, or pollute their bodies. In other words, they put aside what most of us would consider to be “normal” life.
We need to do the same in our spiritual lives. We need to actively move forward in faith, while at the same time, keep from doing things that the world considers “normal” - because what the world considers “normal” is incompatible with the holiness God calls us to live out. And the more we do this, the stronger our spiritual muscles will become.
So today, let’s commit to being disciplined in our walk with God. Let’s be proactive in following God, while at the same time, let’s keep away from letting the things of this world pollute us.