March 6, 2012 Ė Tony Little, Motivational Speakers, and Spiritual Fitness
8 For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come. Ė 1 Timothy 4:8 AMP
Here in the United States there is a near obsession with physical fitness. Doctors, nutritionists, and anyone else in a health related field are ever ready to promote wellness through a balanced diet and exercise. Even the smallest of towns sometimes have a health club filled with all sorts of exercise equipment from treadmills to weight sets.
This craze has in the past several years even spread into homes nationwide. People have exercise equipment of some sort nestled in a corner of their bedroom or even an in-home gym. They use the equipment at either the beginning or the end of the work day to keep in shape because they spend all their time at work behind a desk on a computer or the telephone, never physically exerting themselves. But in this drive to stay physically fit, there is always a search for more.
There is always a search for a more intense yet less time consuming workout. We search out the latest video or the latest gadget on the market to help us reach this goal. Whether itís the latest Richard Simmons video, Tony Little selling us the Gazelle, or even that gadget that intermittently sends electronic shocks through our abdominals without us so much as lifting a finger, we have to try it out. But just like that health club membership, we eventually become embittered because the results donít happen overnight. Whatís bad about this epidemic is that many Christians approach their faith the same way.
Todayís verse says that physical training is of some value, but spiritual training has value in every way. If thatís the case, then why do Christians listen to all the physical fitness experts out there and spend so much time trying to keep up their heart rate for the sake of a good cardio workout, but fall asleep during the pastorís sermon every Sunday morning? Do they even open their Bible during the week, or does it sit in their car and become more bleached by the sun as it rests on the dash in the sunlight all week long? Why is there no obsession with spiritual fitness? When does the Bible become more important than exercise equipment infomercials or the latest Tae Bo video?
Now I am by no means saying that we should not be physically fit. Iím just saying that our priorities seem to be out of order. I am well aware that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and we should treat it as such. Itís important to stay physically fit, but as Paul says, staying spiritually fit is much more useful.
The catch is that this physical fitness thing only goes so far with most people. People often look for that gadget or video because they want an easier answer. They want a workout in half the time, with half the effort, producing twice the results. We have become a society of fast food and quick fixes, and have come to expect the same thing from the bodies God has placed in our care.
The problem with this is that the same approach has been applied to our spiritual fitness. We have come to Jesus, received our salvation, and assume that our world is automatically different. In a sense thatís right. Our world is different, but our perception of it doesnít change. You see, our salvation involves repentance. Repentance involves a change of life. A change of life means doing things differently.
If you donít do anything differently after you are saved, there is a problem. Ask yourself this question: if your life was so perfect before you accepted Christ, why did you need Him in the first place? Iím sure that forgiveness of sins tops the list. Thatís fine, but were you only repenting of sins from your distant past, or from everything in your past? Maybe your life is no longer filled with drug and alcohol abuse from the days of your youth. But people are still full of all sorts of sins like lust and greed. Some even set their favorite sports team or NASCAR driver up as an idol in their life. All such behavior, regardless of how hidden or innocent people may think it is, requires proper spiritual training.
The truth is that all these workout gurus are really good salespeople. Some like Tony Little would even make great motivational speakers. I can see him up in front of a crowd now. Yeah baby! You can do it! There are even preachers out there who fit this bill as well. But if none of us are spiritually fit, what does it matter?
How do you get spiritually fit? There is no quick fix, microwavable solution. It requires effort on your part. Just like watching the latest video, we have to do something. God wonít magically make us spiritually fit any more than Tony Littleís Gazelle will make us magically fit physically. Start in the Word for you spiritual fitness. You canít use the latest preached sermon or motivational speaker to get you on the right track. Start by yourself, for yourself. As you become more spiritually fit, youíll find yourself more motivated than you ever thought you could be.