The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “stamina”: good beginnings aren’t enough. 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 “stamina“.
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 “stamina”:
Most workouts have specific goals: running a certain distance, lifting a certain weight, performing so many pushups in a given period of time, achieving a certain shape in your body, etc. What about setting a goal for stamina in the Body of Christ? What would it be and how would we measure our growth and success? It depends on Christ’s mission for us.
As I write this, the Army’s current physical test consists of doing as many pushups as we can in 2 minutes, the same in sit-ups, and running as fast as we can for 2 miles (allowing some alternate event for Soldiers with an impairment or illness). But, also as I write this, our entire physical training regiment is being changed – largely because the tests need to reflect the requirements of our missions more accurately.
But even the best human research and development cannot forecast every Soldier’s need for stamina in every situation. In fact, some units require additional events that require additional stamina: a 4 mile run, a 12 mile ruck march (or farther), complex obstacle courses, etc., and all at minimum times with other minimum criteria. But just because my current unit doesn’t require these extra events doesn’t mean that the Army won’t send me to one of those units later.
The same is true of spiritual warfare: just because you or I don’t feel a present need for great stamina doesn’t mean that we won’t be tested eventually. We would be wise to put additional stresses on our selves now in order to build greater stamina for later. In fact, if our lives are relatively easy now and we’re opting to ‘take a knee’ for a while, our choice not to push ourselves will limit our ability to persevere in long-term difficulties later. So what is Jesus’ mission for His Body? Review Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 to jog your memory. God calls us to train for short-term needs and for the long haul. Some Soldiers call stamina a “gut check”, “intestinal fortitude”, or “staying power”. Whatever you call it, we will need physical, spiritual, and relational strength to make it through. God has called us to follow Him, and that will mean going against the natural flow of this world (review the notes on ‘pain’ in Genesis 3). If you can honestly say that your life has usually been resistance-free, it could be because you’re going with the flow of the world. All of God’s creation has to persevere in order to make progress – except maybe a dead fish floating downstream. I want more than that for you.
Here are a few ways to work toward greater physical stamina: only ‘rest’ between exercises by moving immediately into an exercise that uses entirely different muscle groups: e.g., leg exercises and arm exercises without any pause between. Or tread water while wearing a weight belt (always with a life guard present); decrease the intensity of your workout and increase the amount of time for each exercise (or your overall workout time) and gradually increase the intensity in future weeks; go power-walking (with light weights if necessary); and do all of these for at least 45 minutes at no less than 60% of your maximum heart-rate. Most fitness programs identify this as the minimum amount of time required to burn fat and to build stamina. In my experience, the temptations and trials of this world are much tougher than 45 minutes on a stair-climber. So let’s work for stamina now, and I mean hard!
Routines that require perseverance can be good reminders that we need God’s strength in His Body because our ‘strength’ (spiritual gifts, personality strengths, accumulated resources, etc.) will eventually give out. God’s will not. (Isaiah 44:12ff)
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