October 9, 2014 · 6:00 AM
I saw a funny exchange that a friend of mine put on Facebook. A person told her, “I didn’t think a Christian would be so into yoga.” She replied, “You’re right. Christians don’t normally stretch.” It hit me that she’s right more than she knows. While she was talking about physically stretching, I was thinking of spiritually stretching. It’s not something that most of us do. We prefer to leave things the way they are and to not be challenged.
Brian Tracy speaks to the Law of Inertia. It says that people continue doing what they’re doing until they’re acted upon by an outside force. It’s not until we face a trial or have a bad day that we wake from our zombie-like spiritual existence and begin to stretch spiritually. If we don’t voluntarily stretch, God is happy to be that outside force that moves us off the path we are on. He’s not content with our spiritual contentment.
We shouldn’t be either. We should each desire to be the best Christian we can be, to have a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Christ. The problem is that desire is only part of the equation. The other part is that we test our faith, push our spiritual limits and strive for the high calling in Christ Jesus. Stretching prepares us for growth. If we don’t stretch, the growth will be painful.
I’ve been in sports my whole life. Stretching has always been a part of every workout, every practice and every game. It warms up the muscles that we are about to use. I Timothy 4:8 says, “Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way.” Paul understood that our spirit needs exercise. If it needs exercise, it needs stretching. The way we do that is to put our faith yo the test. We believe God for more than we think possible. I heard He’s able to abundantly more than I could even ask or think, so why not think big!
If you don’t like to stretch, you’re not alone. Don’t wait for an outside force from God to get you to stretch your faith. Find ways today to stretch it out. Give more than you thought you could give (I’m not just talking about money here). Go farther than you thought you could go. Step into waters that are deeper than you’ve been in. Believe for more than you think is possible and watch what God does. Be a Christian who likes to stretch.
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Tagged as abundantky more than we can ask or think, believe, Devotion, faith, go deeper than you tnought, oceans, physical exercise profits little, spiritual exercise, spiritual stretching, stretch, stretching
March 21, 2013 · 7:48 AM
This week, I’m doing a series on training for Godliness. Many Christians don’t look at the life they lead as a marathon and therefore don’t train their spirit to handle struggles that come. These lessons will provide you with the tools you need to keep your spirit strengthened for a lifetime. Our core scripture I Timothy 4:8. It says, “Physical Training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. (NLT)”
Links to previous parts: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
The way to avoid or minimize injury in sports is to do all the right things. The same applies spiritually. One of the things you can do to prevent injury is stretching. When is the last time you stretched yourself spiritually? I’m not talking about a faith pledge financially. I’m talking about stepping out in faith and you really doing something positive for the Kingdom. It could be walking up to a stranger and just telling them, “God wanted me to tell you that He loves you.” It could be fasting for three days with water only to grow closer to God. It could be any number of things that you don’t think you can do for God.
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” The same thing applies spiritually. If you don’t stretch yourself and think you can do more than you are right now, you’re right. You will stunt your growth and never do more than what you’re doing today. God wants us to step out of the boat like Peter did. When he saw Jesus walking on the water and asked Jesus to call him out of the boat, I’m sure his mind told him that he couldn’t do it. Thankfully his faith in God told him that he could. Have you asked jesus to call you out of your boat? Which voice are you listening to? Stretch yourself.
So before you begin your in depth training for Godliness you need to be able to do some things first. You need to be able to read God’s Word without interruption. How much you read isn’t important in the beginning. It’s not about reading a chapter a day or at a time. God can speak to you with just one verse, but you need to be where you can hear Him speak to you through it. Get away from all distractions and the noise in your life. Jesus went away from others to hear God. You should too.
You also need to be in the habit of praying and listening. Prayer is important. I think contemplative prayer is even more so. I’ll do a post on this soon because it’s more than just praying what comes to mind. It’s purposefully thinking through your prayers. That’s something you work up to though. Beyond just praying, you need to learn to quiet your mind and give God time to speak to you. We, like Elijah in I Kings 19:11-14, think that God speaks loudly all the time. We want Him to speak to us audibly. Elijah saw a windstorm that tore rocks loose from the mountains, but God’s voice wasn’t there. He saw an earthquake, but God’s voice wasn’t there. He even saw fire, but God’s voice wasn’t there either. After the fire, there was a gentle whisper of God’s voice. That’s how God speaks to us. We need to get to where we can hear His voice, then quiet our mind and listen for it.
Tomorrow I’ll wrap this series up with some final thoughts and encouragement to continue your training for Godliness.
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Tagged as bible, cross fit, Devotional, faith, fitness, God, god's voice, godliness, injury, Jesus, marathon, stretch, stretching, train, training