The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “safety”: watch yourself – others need you! 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 “safety”.
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 “safety”:
God’s creation reveals many examples of safety that we can use to help us focus on safety in the Body of Christ. That’s because physical and spiritual safety can concern 1) the use of potentially under-developed resources 2) in unfamiliar territory, and 3) can feel scary. God’s glory is not ultimately in danger, but our relationships and our joy in the moment can be at risk. If we’re not careful, hazards can set us back.
If you’ve ever seen an advertisement for an exercise DVD or piece of equipment, somewhere you’ll see or hear “Always consult a doctor first.” Doctors are supposed to have specialized training and experience to help us identify and prepare for our safety. For similar reasons, before you start a group it would be wise to pray for and seek out a leader who has a known reputation of looking to God’s Word and walking with Him. It’s great if you have physical fitness gurus in your group, but if they tend to focus mostly on the body they may neglect God’s Word and the relationships among His people.
You’ll especially need to guard against risks that are unique to you and the members of your group: over-stressing a weak joint or heart, over-exposing someone with weather-related injury, playing rough ball with a hemophiliac (“free-bleeder”), etc. Many Christians often focus on our God-given personality strengths and spiritual gifts, but 1 Corinthians 12:22-25 reminds us that some parts of our bodies are weaker and other parts need special care. Otherwise, our whole body will suffer. In the same way, let’s W.A.I.T. for His Body.
Watch for unique risks in your group: physical weaknesses, ‘bad blood’ in the relationships of some of your members, difficult personalities, etc. Accept the reality of these ‘weaknesses’, and admit your ugly realities to them, too. These are physical reminders that all of us are flawed and need Jesus to be the Head of His Body. Invest in building His Body according to the commands and promises of His Word. Team with Jesus’ people to trust in Him and work with each other.
Because our bodies are flawed, we will need to care for each other by listening to the physical warning signs of illnesses or injuries among our groups: sharp pains, light-headedness, unexplained numbness, cramps, etc. Yes, many of us are hard-headed and try to ‘tough it out’ while others seem prone to complain about every little difficulty. What right looks like (physically and spiritually) is probably somewhere in the middle. We have to push beyond our comfort zones, but there is only one Superman: Jesus Christ. May we humble ourselves and tell our friends when we need help, and tell them when we see signs that they might be in trouble, too.
There will also be times that, no matter how strong we are, our safety may still be at risk. During potentially dangerous or difficult workouts: heavy lifts, long distance runs, repelling, etc. In all such situations, we must always work with partners. If we’re running or biking on a very long or new route, it’s also a good idea to go with a partner or at least tell a friend about our route and when we expect to be back. In Jesus’ early ministry He directed His disciples to go out with nothing to protect their selves in order to experience God’s miraculous care. But in His later ministry when He was not so popular, Jesus warned them to keep safe (Luke 22:35-36).
Watch for dangerous situations, and Accept that you and your group could be in danger. Invest in Jesus’ armor (Galatians 6:11ff), and Team for safety.
If you’d like to receive more posts from the series, “Workout Wednesdays”, you can subscribe to the tools4trenches blog.