“Form” – physical and spiritual fitness in Christ

FORM – “It is how we play that counts”

(Genesis 32:20-32, Proverbs 16:8, Romans 12:, 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, Galatians 2:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:3-7)

During a P.T. test, has any Soldier not heard someone joke about cheating on the run?  No matter how many times I’ve heard it, I still smile.  Why?  You might get an easy grader on your push-ups or sit-ups, but the distance is what it is.  And the very fact that we joke about cheating raises questions.  “Are we really interested in getting fit or just getting through one more PT test? And do we watch our form to work our muscles or hope a crowd will form to watch our muscles?

As I write this, my body feels the signs of aging.  The last several years of my military assignments have been strictly office work.  My back aches after long hours and poor posture in my office chair.  But, believe it or not, I miss the road marches and obstacle courses with Soldiers, and I’m eager to regain some of my physical fitness.  Sometimes I’m so eager to be fit again that I find myself cheating on my form to give the appearance that I’m stronger than I actually am.

You might know what I mean – rocking our upper bodies to swing those weights up on bicep curls, bouncing the weight off our chests (just a little) to pop the bar up a little faster on the bench, throwing our arms backward and forward for momentum on our sit-ups.  But cheating on our form can work against us.  Rocking back on those bicep curls can put pressure on your lower back and lead to injuries, and bouncing your bench press can even crack your sternum!  Such scenarios are rare, though, requiring a LOT of weight, or long-term abuse.  The greater problem is that cheating robs us of real growth!

Listen to Paul’s advice to His second letter to his young apprentice. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good Soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a Soldier. And if a man also strives for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.  The farmer that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (2 Timothy 2:3-6).  He pictures three vocations that require the workers to watch their form in order to reach their goals.

But is it fair that God says He will only bless our work if we do things His way?  Doesn’t that go against the Bible’s teachings of salvation by His grace and not by our works?  Absolutely not!  I’m talking about obeying God so we can enjoy the work He accomplishes through us! (Esther 4:14)

The Lord made each of us in very specific ways so we can live in His image successfully and joyfully through Christ.  Our only hope for real joy is to live as He designed us.  But just in case you think you have better plans (as I do at times), think of yourself as a rocket ship designed by the Master Rocket Scientist.  Our actions are like the actual flight, but like a rocket ship, we require power, direction, and a team.  Our emotions are like the fuel that ignites inside to propel us heavenward.  Our team must consist of  those people who are like-minded about the flight plan and passionate about the mission.  And our beliefs are like the guidance system:  we can’t get where we’re meant to go if we try to input different information!  Every aspect of our being is designed to work together for our success and joy in God’s mission!

Form is critical to growth because God did design us in specific ways to function in harmony for Him. We’re not cold machines. Every aspect of our being has been damaged by the effects of rebellion, so we need Jesus’ work in us every day!

Mindfulness is the process of intentional self-awareness – specifically how our emotions, beliefs, and actions impact each other in our relationships.  Christian mindfulness frees and inspires us by our meditation on God’s truth to interpret and inspire our relationships in the Body of Christ.  Yet, each of us has a tendency to love self above all else.

Instead of our emotions, beliefs, and actions working together to walk with God daily, we tend to go into an “auto-pilot” of pride (self-love) or fear (self-protection).  We must watch our “form‟ to exercise intentional faith in Him and love for others.  Take a moment to read Paul’s description of “form‟ in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Our mindfulness in Christ must be constant and will meet resistance in our flesh.

What is your fear?  And who is your Love?  W.A.I.T.

Watch God’s creation in you.  When I notice my cycle of emotion, belief, and action right now, I feel sad about several hurting relationships and I want to be in control.  I must…

Accept that God designed me to function in specific ways – as a husband, a father, a pastor, etc. – so I can’t necessarily trust my “auto-pilot”. I have to look to the guidance system that God provided for me. I will . . .

Invest in His Kingdom and ignore Satan’s guilt trip that “if you were a real man, you’d do whatever it takes to make things better”.  Instead, I will serve my relationships in ways that honor Him and…

Team with fellow believers who will encourage me to trust God’s commands & promises and check my form in my relationships when I want to cheat by working only in my strengths

 

If you’d like a free download of the 8″ x 10″ picture at the top of this article for printing and framing, you can click here.

 

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