I did well on my diet today. I only had three pieces of chocolate cake. That’s okay isn’t it? The diet book said that I shouldn’t deprive myself. If I want chocolate cake I should eat it to prevent me from binging later on. While skeptical, I found this information enlightening. Sweets, I always assumed, were evil and the reason behind my bulge. Now I discover it can’t be the cake, so it must be the vegetables!
I haven’t quite figured it all out yet. I’ve tried every diet known to woman, and not a one works for me. Do you think you have to stay on them longer than a week or two to get results? I’m not capable of that. Then there is the whole idea of not dieting but changing your eating habits for life. How cruel! The thought of no more , ery popcorn with extra salt is more than I can take. Let’s face it: eating is the only legal enjoyment we have as Christians! Okay, that’s not true. It just seems to me that “meet and eat” is practically church doctrine.
On the other hand, there are those who are obsessed with diet and exercise. The goal of some women appears to be to get back to their newborn weight of 8 pounds and 7ounces. While staying physically fit is important, it can be taken to the extreme. Finding a healthy balance between the two are key. Let’s make a pact. I’ll pray for you if you’ll pray for me to find that balance.
With all of the pressure on outward appearances, I wonder if we’ve forgotten how important it is to stay in shape spiritually too.
Let’s take a spiritual walk together and learn how to really get into S.H.A.P.E.
Step One: Begin your exercise with Surrender. You may be thinking, “Isn’t that what I did when I first came to Christ-surrender?” Yes, you did. However, to stay spiritually fit, you and I must learn that surrender is not a one-time action. We must learn to live it out everyday by learning to say “no” to self and “yes” to God, in complete obedience to whatever He asks of us.
Step Two: Apply Holiness to our daily routines. For me, pumping up my holiness muscle is the hardest part of the routine. When I’m all by myself, I can be as holy as the day is long. Once the kids come home from school, my horns pop out, knocking my halo to the ground. This discourages me. The good news is that God never intended for us to be holy on our own. Apart from Christ, we can’t achieve this attribute. It’s only when we yield to the life of Christ in us that His holiness can be lived out through us. The more we exercise dependence on Him, the holier we will become.
Step Three: Train yourself to Abide. Abiding means to remain in Christ; to stay connected to Him throughout the day. When you and I cut ourselves off from Christ, we become powerless to avoid temptations and sin. It’s only when the branch stays connected to the vine that the sap, the life-giving substance, flows freely through the tree. Likewise, when we abide in Christ, we no longer have to struggle to live for Him; He is free to live His life through us. Read the Bible to learn how to abide in Him. There you will find guidelines for successful daily living.
Step Four: Practice Prayer. As you learn to stay connected to God through studying His Word, prayer becomes a path to intimacy. As God speaks, you may be led to confess sin or respond in praise and worship as you learn who God is and what He desires of you. During this time of communion with the Living God, you’ll find that prayer eases your worries and sooths your anxieties. It diminishes doubt and replenishes your soul. Prayer is a vital step to your spiritual shape.
Step Five: Never lose your Enthusiasm. There are times that I struggle with apathy. I want to stay spiritually fit, but sometimes I’m not motivated to put forth the energy. Over the years, I’ve discovered that in order to stay excited, I have to nurture my relationship with my heavenly Father. Telling Him everyday how much you love and need Him will keep your heart close to His. Meditating on how much He loves and cares for you will keep your soul on fire and your passion alive. Then, you’ll be eager to keep in S.H.A.P.E. because with each step you and I become more like Him.