Sunday, January 26, 2014

Flex Those Muscles!

The Physical

Exercise... Ugh!  Most of us dread it, few of us love it, even fewer of us are exercise enthusiasts.

I have several reason for wanting/needing to exercise at least three to four times per week: 1) overall health and well being; 2) weight maintenance; and, more importantly,  3) my muscular disability. So, yes, like it or not I struggle with the daily debate as to whether or not to exercise. Conflicted? Admittedly so! 

Nonetheless, I walk for exercise with occasional light weightlifting. It gives me good toning and cardio with minimum stress on my bones and muscles. Most days, I do so on my treadmill as it is safer with my disability. Occasionally, I will wander outdoors for a walk in the neighborhood.

Walking is different now, without my medication, as I have to be much more agile, alert, and awareAgile enough to step lightly and fairly quickly especially crossing streets. (I am anything but quick with stiff, contracted muscles.)  Alert enough to be aware of dogs, obstacles and traffic. Aware of my surroundings in order to navigate the best route on streets and sidewalks. Constant vigilance.

The Spiritual

 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9

The physical struggle got me thinking about the spiritual struggle. The seen and the unseen. I can hear cars coming. I can see obstacles in my way. The sidewalk beneath my feet guides me along the way.  I stop, look and listen. I take care, I prepare.

But, do I recognize the signs of danger in my spiritual walk or notice 
the obstacles distancing me from God?

Do I take care in being vigilant in preparation to face the spiritual battle that is swirling around me? The battle for my thoughts, my heart, my future? Do I recognize temptations when they are staring at me, the lies of the evil one trying to discourage me from my purpose,  the discord being sewn in my relationships that are impeding my relationship with Him? Do I put my armor on every moment of every day to fight the battle of the unseen?

Agile, Alert, Aware.

Exercise is certainly not my first choice in how to spend those precious moments each day.  I set aside time to eat, work, play and, sometimes, exercise this hunk of flesh. But do I exercise my physical AND spiritual muscles each day? Do I offer a sacrifice of time to Him Who has given me the gift of life eternal?

I am versed in His Word? Is it a priority for me?

Do I know where to look for the true source of strength, peace, love, help, encouragement, 
reassurance and hope when I need it? 

Do I get on my knees, humble myself and spend time with Him 
every day seeking His wisdom as my own? Is it a necessity to me?

Am I truly aware of my own weaknesses and gaps in my armor and how to heal the wounds?

Do I recognize where or when attacks may happen and how to act by the power of His Spirit?

Do I know how to recognize and deflect slings, arrows, and fiery darts of the enemy 
through His Word?

Do I listen to His voice to guide and look for His light 
on my path rather than rely on my own wisdom?

Do I exercise my spiritual muscles every day or just wait until there is a crisis?

Agile, Alert, Aware.
Constant vigilance. 

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

I definitely want those tools in my tool box!  They impart wisdom, discernment and action (rather than reaction) in times of confusion, discouragement, and tragedy. He is my strength and my shield. My armor. My guide. 

He is worth the time and so am I because I am His.  I will continue to give Him the sacrifice in time for the maintenance of this physical tabernacle as it is home to His Spirit as He lives in me.  And, I will give more sacrifice in time to those spiritual muscles as He also lives through me!

 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11