The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “partners”: we need each other. 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 “partners“.
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 “partners”:
In every area of our lives, we need partners: someone to coach us, encourage, assist, confront, and commit. W.A.I.T. training is designed to use different formats of physical fitness, but the deeper goal is genuine relationships in Christ.
If you’re still reading this book by yourself, begin assessing your specific interests or needs in exercise and pray that God would lead you to other believers. And keep an open heart – the Lord might lead you to someone who wants to work out with you but not necessarily in your comfort zone. When you’ve identified a few potential partners, give them a copy of the book and ask them about forming a group. Pray and stay sensitive to what seems to make the group unique. Should the group incorporate prayer before, during or after exercise? Will they benefit more from exercise to spark discussion, to memorize verses, as an opportunity for encouragement and accountability, or something else? Should you use a format of weights? Swimming? Running? Talk as a group so everyone can discuss what’s best for the group.
While you’re exercising together, take the initiative and ask your group for their thoughts on what they’ve been reading. Listen openly without responding too quickly. Remember that even God has ‘partners’: Father, Son, and Spirit! So, He tells the members of His Body to work together and promises to bless interdependence under Him (Romans 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:12ff, Ephesians 3:6, Colossians 3:15, etc.). Guard against mere intellectual discussions that keep you from your hearts, “prayer” time that is actually gossip, mechanical formulas for ‘success’ that lead to pride instead of praise, bashing other denominations or religions instead of focusing on Him. Keep it about your relationships in His Body, the Church.
Watch your partners and voice what you see. But give them what they need to grow, not just what makes you comfortable. If you enjoy encouraging others, you could have difficulty holding them accountable for cheating, neglecting some areas, boasting in their strength, going through the motions without spiritual reflection, etc. If you’re a Mr./Ms. “fix-it” and focus on the problem to bring a solution, encouragement may not come naturally to you but they still need it. Love them by reminding them of God’s promises. If they’re having trouble choosing Scriptures to renew their minds, offer passages that have built your faith – but let them choose.
There will be times when they may need you to take charge of exercises, Scripture reading, meditations and prayer, etc. And there will be times when you will need to be quieter and listen to the Lord work on you through them. Stay open to what each one brings to the group. Otherwise, your stubbornness will enslave you to think what you’ve always thought, feel what you’ve always felt, and do what you’ve always done.
Do what it takes to make the time truly relational. After all, being in loving relationships in Christ is why God created us in the first place. How fast can you run 4 miles? How far can you march with a loaded rucksack on your back? How hopeful are you that you can persevere? To a great extent, your answers will depend on whether you have partners to help you through. They can make a big difference.
Our greatest partner, of course, is Jesus. Proverbs 18:24 says there is one who sticks closer than a brother. The One for whom we work works inside us, beside us, before us, around us and behind us to profit our labor in Him. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9) Praise God for Jesus and His Body!
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