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Beloved: Grace and Peace

Elkmont Baptist Church

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Spiritual Fitness

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Beloved: Grace and Peace
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Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. When I was a young man and seeking to become "bigger" and stronger", I discovered that three things were necessary to become physically stronger. Those three things were exercise, proper food, and sufficient sleep. I learned that if any one of those three was missing or not in proper quantity, I would not get stronger.
Grace to you.
I wonder if there is spiritual principle here.
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which
the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as
 have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk
unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,
those who by reason of use have their senses
exercised to discern both good and evil.
- Hebrews 5:8-14
When we were lifting weights, we liked to say, "No pain, no gain." It was true. Without pushing ourselves and tearing our muscles down, there was no building them back up stronger. Hebrews 5:8 tells us that Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. And He was being made perfect (mature, complete). The things we suffer are used to strengthen us. They are the exercises we go through. However, without the right spiritual food, that strong meat, we are unable to be strengthened by the things we go through.
Let us be sure as we go through those exercises, that we have the right food to enable us to grow. "But grow in grace, and
the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. To him
glory both now and forever. Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).
We see in Hebrews 5:8-14 that in the spirit world, proper food is the Word of God. We saw that one of the exercises we go through is suffering by which we learn obedience. We saw that we were to exercise our senses to discern both good and evil. We must discern both good and evil in order to ". . . refuse the evil, and choose the good" (Isaiah 7:15). What other spiritual exercises should we do?
Paul tells us that, "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and
men" (Acts 24:16). One of the healthiest spiritual
exercises is confessing sins, keeping a short account and humbling ourselves to confess where we have wronged others.
Paul tells Timothy, "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself
unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable
unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Godliness is God-likeness. Exercise unto godliness is to perform activities which will help us become like Jesus who ". . . is meek and lowly in heart . . ." (Matthew 11:29).
Hebrews 12 speaks of running a race with endurance, of being exercised by the chastening of God, and of following ". . . peace with all
, and holiness, without
which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
Now we will look at proper rest.
"Be still, and know that I
God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted
in the earth" (Psalm 46:10). Have you ever noticed how busy we can become? I have heard Christians jokingly say, "Busyness is next to godliness." Sometimes it seems that way. Our God doesn't suggest we be still. He commands us, "Be still, and know that I am God."
Our resting must begin with Him. He says through David, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him . . ." (Psalm 37:7). A friend of mine once told me she had been cautioned that she could wait patiently or impatiently, but wait she must.
The Scripture tells us that David, in a strange land, confessed, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, LORD, only makest me to dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:8). Solomon tells us that with trust in the LORD and wisdom, "When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: thou shall lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet" (Proverbs 3:24).
Sometime we are tempted to burn the candle at both ends. The Scripture tells us, "
It is
vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrow;
giveth his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2).
Let us be sure as we work to rest in Him, that we have the right food, right exercise, and right rest to enable us to grow.
There is a need for spiritual food, spiritual exercises, and spiritual rest. We see that the physical needs mirror the spiritual needs.
Let us finish these thoughts by focusing on sleep. Without physical sleep we are prone to enter a physical state of exhaustion which can lead to depression. Remember Psalm 127:2 tells us, "
It is
vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to sit up late, to
eat the bread of sorrows; for so he giveth his beloved sleep." It is nought, of no worth to rise up early and sit up late. There is only one time the Scriptures advise us to give no rest to ourselves. Proverbs 6 speaks to the one who has entered into surety (surety may be thought of as a signature loan, in which the note payment exceeds the collateral. Think new car loan). Proverbs 6:4-5 tell us, "Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hands
of the hunter
a bird from the hand of the fowler." In this instance we are commanded to get ourselves out of this trap as quickly as we can. This is because "[t]he rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower
servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).
The Lord Jesus teaches us, "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful" (Mark 4:19). The concern for the physical things and having them now chokes off the Word of God, and we cannot bear fruit.
Let us be sure as we work to rest in Him, that we have the right food, right exercise, and right rest to enable us to grow. "But grow in grace, and
the knowledge of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. To him
glory both now and forever. Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).
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