With the Lord, only a personal relationship can develop increased fitness for service. He knows the inner character of every person. He doesn’t just know about you, He knows you. You can’t pull anything over His eyes! You’ve got to apply His Word to make it work. In other words, you’ve got to do more than just get on Jesus’ winning team. You’ve got to get in there and play if you want to experience all the good stuff in God’s Word!
Christianity Is About More Than Just Being On The Team
Everybody knows that it takes exercise to become physically fit. The body requires training to perform well physically. If you want to run a marathon, you’ll have to spend some time training so that when the race comes, you’ll be able to run it – to finish it without passing out! Wouldn’t you agree that it is easier to run a marathon after years of training than it is to get up one day and try to make it through 26.2 miles?
Healing can be compared to this as well. A lot of people neglect to think about their health when they are healthy. It isn’t until they get sick that they start trying to get fit, spiritually and physically, in that area of their lives. This isn’t the easiest way to do it. It can be like climbing uphill, but many people have done it. It can be done!
Sometimes when the devil comes to steal, kill or destroy our lives with sickness, people get caught with their pants down. They don’t have confidence because they haven’t been exercising, spiritually speaking. They haven’t been doing their aerobics! They haven’t been flexing their muscles when it comes to the Word.
They’re saved. They belong to the Heavenly Club. They’ve got their membership and the manual that comes with it. But, they’re flabby, not fit. They can’t perform what they are designed to perform. They can’t do what others in the club are doing. They couldn’t walk in a race, much less run in one. Why? No training. Lots of reading and talking, but little application. They are in union with Jesus, but not with His works.
You can be full of the Holy Ghost and never exercise your full abilities. You can be saved and hear healing preached all your life and never exercise the power of God for yourself. If you don’t exercise yourself by becoming united with Jesus and His works, when Satan strikes at you, you’ll stand paralyzed by the blow. Or you’ll try and muster up the guts to run him out of town, but you won’t make it three steps into the sprint. Do you understand what I’m getting at here?
Be A Doer
James 1:23-26 puts it this way: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
Religion won’t do you any good unless you apply what it is teaching. You can read books and hear a lot of soul-stirring sermons, but if you don’t apply it, it can’t work for you. That sounds like common sense, and it is, but a lot of people don’t seem to understand how true it really is. Spending time with your Father in prayer and reading His Word is crucial to being spiritually fit. But the “doing” can’t be left out. Following the commands in His Word day after day will help you to become spiritually fit so that you can overcome any problem that comes your way.
I know what it means to work hard at being physically fit. I’ve been a jogger since 1979. Have I enjoyed it? Not really. My body is used to it. It doesn’t like it, but it needs it – and it knows it. If I go for a couple of days without jogging, my body actually tells me, “Hey, fool, we’re getting weak here.”
Exercise keeps me from blowing up to 300 pounds and it helps me to release stress. It’s also a great time to talk with the Lord.
The first mile is not bad. The second mile is not too bad. But the third mile is tough. My body decides it’s had enough and says, “Hey, Jesse. Look at your hair. It’s white. You’re getting old. You’re gonna kill us out here on this road. What’s the matter with you? Go home. Sit down. Eat. Who cares?”
I have to push myself to finish my course because if it were up to my flesh, I’d be home in front of the TV eating pecans by the truckload and knocking the fire out of a bag of hog cracklin.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I joke a lot but I do try and take care of my body. When I don’t, I just fall on the mercy of God, but I really do try and take care of what I can in the natural. Is it always fun? No, not really. Does my body like it? No.
Back when I was a strict vegetarian, my body fought me tooth and nail. But, my body got used to the change. It got to the point that my body was so clean that if I ate just a bite or two of something fried, I’d get an awful feeling in my stomach. I could taste the grease for hours and it just wouldn’t set right in my body.
Lean, Mean, Faith Machine
Getting in spiritual shape is a lot like getting in physical shape, in that you feel wonderful when you’re finally doing it! With physical fitness, your body moans and complains in the beginning. It doesn’t want to do anything. But once you get into it, you feel good knowing that you’re accomplishing something. You’re gaining a healthier body, losing pounds and building strength and endurance so that you can enjoy your life more. You’re being active. If you stick with it, it can transform your body into a lean, mean, faith machine!
That’s how it is with getting fit spiritually. At first your flesh moans and complains about making a change. It doesn’t want to change. But, once you get into the habit of crucifying that flesh, you feel wonderful because you are fellowshipping with the Creator! Suddenly He lifts you up into heavenly places and it is no work at all! The difference between physical fitness and spiritual fitness is that getting fit with God is much, much more rewarding and fun.
Fight the Good Fight of Faith
Of course, being spiritually fit doesn’t mean that it is a complete safeguard against the devil’s attacks. But, when you’re fit, it’s a whole lot easier to whip him!
Satan is a stinking dirtbag. He’s like a criminal who comes into your house to steal. He has no authority, but he’ll try and get away with anything he can. It is our job to enforce the law of “by His stripes ye were healed” and kick the stinking sickness out. When we catch Satan trying to pull a shenanigan with our health, it’s our job to grab the Sword of the Spirit (the Word) with confidence, resist the temptation to give in. Sometimes it’s a fight, but it is a good fight.
First Timothy 6:11-12 says, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
If you want to receive, you’ve got to learn to develop tenacity. Quitters can’t win the fight of faith. They forfeit the prize when they do. It’s people who abide in God and have His Word abiding that are in good spiritual shape. They patiently fight the fight of faith and inherit their promise. Like Paul, they are the ones who end up calling it a good fight! Because, let’s just face it, when you’re in good spiritual shape, it’s a whole lot easier to fight good!
Source: Breaking the Power of Natural Law by Jesse Duplantis
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers