The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “balance” (wholeness) in our faith and following of Jesus. If you’re not familiar with this series, you may want to review some of the foundational articles and videos on W.A.I.T. training and specific posts on “initiative“.
There are 24 such subjects on this website. You can use the search function to read the devotionals and related Scriptures, view training videos, and even watch contemporary Christian music videos on the same subjects. Simply place your smartphone or tablet on the reading deck of your favorite cardio equipment in the gym, or prop it up in a safe place as you and a friend exercise at home, or even project it onto a smart TV through wifi or bluetooth for larger groups.
I offer the applications below and others only as examples of how you might physically express spiritual principles. They are not magical formulas or guarantees. Neither are they substitutes for God’s call to gather with other believers for worship in a local church, to study His Word and pray privately, to fellowship with other Christians throughout the week, or to serve the hurting and lost.
In the metaphor of physical fitness, consider this series as a “supplement” for your spiritual health. I do believe, however, that these articles and related video which simultaneously feed our spiritual, physical, and relational health can be very practical. After all, the Lord created each of us as a body with a spirit for relationships. And remember, always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Suggested applications for meditation on “initiative”:
There are many ways we can take simple initiatives in the gym toward new spiritual journeys. Begin by asking yourself, what could be eventually accomplished through a first step?
If God’s Word has convicted you that you are too independent from the Body of Christ, maybe you could step out in faith and ask another believer to exercise with you. Or maybe you know that you need to repent of personal pride. If so, ask others to help you in some area in which they excel and listen to what they have to say. If you do want to cut back on your calories, take a risk and share your goal with a friend and ask for their regular accountability and encouragement.
You can also initiate helping others. Strenuous exercise in the presence of other people stresses our whole being – body and soul. Take a look around the gym or track and field and see whose outer shell is cracking, revealing their anger, fear, sadness, or self-centered joy. Go meet them where they are. Start simply by encouraging them that you see them struggling and are here for them. What might that sound like? Maybe something like this. “I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling here. Do you mind if I exercise beside you? I feel like I can identify with you a little more that some of the others here.”
They may be very glad to have someone accept them where they are, or they may get defensive and reject you. But if you can remember that their look of physical struggle on their face is a sign of the spiritual struggle in them, you will be better able to accept either response with grace, compassion, and prayer for them. Who knows, God may bring your small act of kindness to their mind and warm their heart for another opportunity later. All great journeys being with small steps!
It might be helpful to stick those words “small steps” in your mind. Getting out of bed earlier several days a week may seem like a huge task, but setting our your workout clothes the night before and sitting up in bed on the next morning are little things that can make the key difference. In Romans 10:9-15, Paul speaks of the great goal of others’ faith and salvation, but he back-tracks the process to remind us that it must begin with someone going to bring them the message of the gospel! Let’s not forget that W.A.I.T. training is for relational fitness in the Body of Christ – not simply our personal understanding of Scripture or a better physique. Get out there and initiate talking with others about your Lord as He gives opportunity!
Physical initiative meets spiritual opportunity when we see a friend giving up too early and we walk over and offer to spot them, encourage them for a few more reps, and stick around after they’ve succeeded or failed. That first step away from your old snacking routine can generate all kinds of emotions in your body and soul: “I need that snack or I might . . .!” What? Loose my temper later? Not get any sense of reward for what I achieved earlier today? Be too fatigued to give my best later? All these are thoughts of fear: steps on a journey of self-confidence. We have to start down the paths of God’s will if we’re going to experience His better provision in His better timing. It will be literally nerve-racking because our bodies’ have gotten used to the foods, activities and even beliefs that change levels of neurotransmitters affecting our sense of pleasure, pain, energy, rest, etc. Growing pains!
Let’s exercise initiative to walk with Jesus, body and soul. We can’t always see our desired destination from our first steps, but we will never get there without those first steps.
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