Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fitness for Body and Soul

(I'm celebrating birthday week with guest bloggers. Today's writer is David Turner, and he's writing about fitness - both physical and spiritual) 

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In recent times, much emphasis has been placed on physical fitness. My experiences started during the first week of June in 1963 as I began basis training in the Army at Fort Polk. LA. 

During my senior year in high school, when I knew that Fort Polk was in my immediate future, I tried the basic forms of physical fitness…running and weights. 

When I graduated high school, I weighed a whopping 98 pounds. Charles Atlas would have been proud as I was the “original 98-pound weakling”.
I’m sure that my drill sergeants felt the same way. I was challenged by daily exercises and running…you ran everywhere you went. Not to mention the fact that I ate potatoes three meals a day…fixed in many different ways. 

By the time they were through with me, I weighed 140 pounds, and actually had muscles on my arms that even I was proud of. My uniform even fit very snuggly.
Today, things are different. 

When I went to Dr. Newell’s office for an appointment last week, I weighed….191 pounds. Yes, I did not make a mistake, The scales read…191 pounds. In 54 years, I have gained 93 pounds. Since I am 5 foot, 6 inched tall, there was nowhere for this much weight to go but…out. 

I've outgrown all my suits, and have been reduced to wearing slacks and a dress shirt to church. In a Sunday School class full of suits, I feel terribly out of place.
With such an alarming increase in the emphasis in physical fitness, I began to wonder what God’s Word says about this. 

I remember the movies based supposedly based on Biblical times where the rulers (Kings and emperors) sat on their thrones with fat hanging out everywhere…but I suspect that this was not the norm. 

There were no established physical fitness centers…no weight programs…because they were not needed. Based on my limited understanding of the Bible, everyone was very active, and being overweight and out of shape was not an issue.
I have found only 8 verses in the Bible which speak of physical fitness…you may know more.

1.1 Corinthians 9:26-27… Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body 1`and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified”..

2. 2 Timothy 2:5 … “Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he “competes according to the rules”.

3. Romans 12:1… “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship”.

4. 1 Corinthians 10:31… “Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God”.

5. Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.

6. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20… “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body”.

7. Proverbs 10:4… “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich”.
8. Hebrews 6:12… “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised”.

Being physically fit apparently was not a problem in the early days, as it is now. 

My doctor, Dr. Ken Harvey, has placed me on a 1500 calorie diet, and today is day three. I have not been hunger until today. Apparently, I had stored up enough food to last me until now. 

My ½ cup of roasted chicken, wheat thins, strawberries, and almonds, were good, but I am still hungry. It's going to be tough sticking to this diet, but it has to be done.

This being said, I spend about 2…2-1/2 hours each day trying to stay physically fit. While my body has all this attention, my spiritual fitness is suffering. I spend about 30 minutes a day reading my Bible, going over my “IAPFY” list, and praying. My body gets all the attention, and my soul suffers. 

I began searching for verses which talked about exercising the soul…being a better child of God.

2 Timothy 2:15… King James Version (KJV)… Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.

I Peter 3:3-4… “3. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”.

Romans 8:1…“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 

Psalm 138.8…“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

Ephesians 2:10… “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” 

These verses, along with a host of others, speak of being “spiritually fit”. Am I “spiritually fit?” I think not! In comparison to what my Savior has done for me, is all I can set aside for Him 30 minutes each day. I can, and will, answer my own question. No, 30 minutes a day does not, and will not, be sufficient. I have to make most wise use of my time each day.

This begs the question. 

What about you? 

Are you putting more emphasis on physical fitness and depriving your soul of the nurturing of daily time in the Word, and alone time with God?

There is a hymn which contains these words, “I am satisfied with Jesus, but the question comes to me, is my Master satisfied with me?”  

Is your Master satisfied with You?

By Guest Blogger David Turner
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