I am not a natural athlete and my children are very quick to remind me of it on a daily basis. The idea of jumping up and down during an aerobics session or running for kilometers is not something that regularly cross my mind. But with summer approaching in our region and the age thing starting to slowly creep up on me, I have recently decided to try my hand at Pilates. Surprisingly I find it quite enjoyable as long as I don’t think beforehand of how much pain I am going to be in afterwards. It has been more than a month and after each session I have found a couple of more muscles I didn’t know about, having to get out of bed very slowly in the morning to allow everything to warm up. So why do I continue with this? Because I am hoping that it will get easier and that the results will be worth it.
The question I am asking myself this morning is:
“What makes our search for body fitness different from our spiritual fitness?”
On a daily basis we choose to spend hours in a gym or on the road in an effort to make our bodies stronger and healthier. We know that in the beginning it will be tough and there will most possibly be lots of pain, involved before we will reap the benefits, but still we persevere. Why then is it so much more difficult to do the same for our spiritual fitness?
Paul writes in his first letter to Timothy:
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
I think there is a couple of reasons why we sometimes find the body training thing easier than the spiritual training:
- Body training shows a much faster and easier result than spiritual training. People around you will notice your physical change and will possibly comment on it, which will be good for the self-esteem. Contrary to this, spiritual training means a transformation of your whole person over the long term. It is more subtle and it affects you in a way that you will become less and not more.
- With the society we live in being so focussed on the physical and the need for instant gratification, it is only natural that our priorities will tend to move more in that direction.
- And lastly, contrary to physical training and our natural urge to chase after things, spiritual training requires us to slow down and to become quiet in God’s presence, waiting on Him to reveal Himself and His will to us.
So what is the big no-no I need to watch out for?
To make sure that my body training time does not interfere with my spiritual training time. And if it does, I need to re-prioritise, because, as Paul said, even though body training will give me value in my present life, my spiritual training is beneficial for today and my life ever after.