The Bible says in Hebrews chapter five, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Just as diligence and dedication are essential parts of being physically fit, so, too, must we by diligence and dedication pursue spiritual exercise to be all that God wants us to be.
Last year, I went on a radical diet to lose weight. A great part of losing that weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been the use of exercise. This has become an extremely enjoyable part of my day.
Among the many things I have learned during this process of biking, lifting weights and jogging is the urgency to keep pressing myself further than previously accomplished. I remember when a mile on a bike seemed to be a great distance but after a few days became more comfortable. In the lifting of weights certain repetitions have become easily accomplished. It is at that point of comfort that a decision must be made: will I press on further, harder and deeper or settle into that which stretches me little?
Have you heard of muscle confusion? Muscle confusion is a physical training principle that states that muscles accommodate to a specific type of stress (habituate or plateau, also called homeostasis) when the same stress is continually applied to the muscles over time, there one must constantly vary exercises, sets, reps and weight to avoid accommodation. The body should never be allowed to accommodate to an exercise to the point where the exercise is ineffective and results are no longer seen. Integrating variety also improves motivation, keeps one mentally fresh, and allows muscles to continually adapt. (http://athletics.wikia.com/wiki/Muscle_Confusion_Principle)
I have been a Christian for 18 years and a preacher for over 14 years. There have been too many times when my spiritual life was set to “cruise control.” This might have crept in through the habit of daily Bible reading, prayer time, witnessing and the duty level of my work for the Lord. To be honest, there have been times when my Bible was being read, my prayers were being prayed, my sermons were getting written and the work was getting done, but I was not growing and maturing personally.
It is not uncommon for us as Christians to “spiritualize” this practice and become subservient, not to Christ, but to the “program.” This regimented lifestyle is nothing more than a rut that renders us lukewarm on God.
If in my physical life I really need to lift more weight, increase my run beyond three miles , and stretch my heart rate to levels that now challenge me, I have to decide to confuse my muscles. I must add to what I am doing.
So…spiritually? Am I being stretched spiritually? Am I striving to spend more time with God? What personal reading goals have I set for myself? What about Scripture memory? Is that on the workout schedule? Knocking doors? I am doing that, but how many more should I challenge myself to knock in speaking for Christ?
If I have written my best articles, sung my best songs, preached my best sermons, and prayed my greatest prayers, I am a has-been fitted only for God’s castaway collection. May God by His Spirit challenge all of us on to greater heights for His glory. May our spiritual muscles grow into lifting burdens we have yet to lift. May we run errands for God at distances otherwise impossible. May we accomplish things in days to come for His glory with strength gotten by confusing our spiritual muscles and becoming stronger in the Lord.