We’ve spent the last couple weeks discussing our New Year’s resolutions. So far our concentration has been on making changes that will improve our physical bodies. This is because most of us focus our attention, especially during the first few months of the year, on losing weight and getting into shape.
But what about our spiritual selves? What changes can we make during the next twelve months that will help us get spiritually fit?
As I pondered this question, I knew I had to enlist the help of one of my best girlfriends, Kathy Lonsinger. Kathy has helped many people, worldwide, find comfort and direction in Jesus through her online ministry, A Gentle Answer. I came to Kathy asking her to write down her thoughts about helping our families get spiritually fit in the new year.
According to Kathy, “Every resolution or exercise program begins by evaluating your current condition. We usually determine we need to stop or start certain habits or behaviors such as STOP smoking, drinking, overeating, or overspending; or START exercising or saving money in order to reach our goals. If, as Christian families, we are going to begin 2012 trying to get spiritually fit we must examine our condition.
Does your family spend time in prayer?
Does your family worship with a body of believers?
Does your family seek first the kingdom of God so all “these” things will be added … health, financial, spiritual fitness?
Do you need to stop or start behaviors that are keeping you from being spiritually fit?
In order to answer some of these questions we don’t need a trainer that will yell at you loudly to motivate you, we simply need go back to the basics. We must obey the regimen already spelled out in scripture for a healthy Christian family.
The plan of salvation must be first.
His word tells us to:
In the same way you put on your workout clothes to go to the gym, you must dress accordingly to tackle your spiritual fitness program.
The Armor of God: Ephesians 6:10-11
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
DEEP KNEE BENDS
Seeking advice from the experts and your doctor are always recommended when you begin and maintain your physical exercise program. By praying as a family you are seeking the counsel of God and presenting yourself for close examination in order to pinpoint areas of weakness. Children who see their parents exercise tend to exercise. Likewise, children who have the example of a prayer filled life tend to pray. Bend the knee, repeat often.
Pray in the Spirit on All Occasions: Ephesians 6:18
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Stretching is for the purpose of preparing your body for the actual exercise. As Christians, we must stretch our knowledge of the Word of God. Add scripture memory and Bible Study to your family routine. Some great places to start:
1. As a family, read through Proverbs taking one chapter a day for a month. Highlight and memorize some of the verses together helping the younger children and keeping the length age appropriate.
2. Consider reading the words spoken by Jesus (using a Red Letter edition of the Bible) together as a family to find out what He actually says in scripture. If He tells you to do something…just do it! (Sorry Nike)
3. Don’t forget your “BE” Vitamins. Take a look at the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.
4. Read Ephesians 5 and reflect on the verses outlining each family member’s instruction in the Bible… Wives/Husbands/Fathers-Mothers/Children.
Doctors always say to simply start walking to increase your fitness level. In order to begin our walk with Jesus we must walk as He walked. (1 Corinthians 11:1) As you continue imitating Christ, your children will be imitators of you. Imitate Christ, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. (Ephesians 5:1)
Okay so you blew it in 2011! So what! Now…Press on toward what is ahead; the goal. Don’t you love the fact that we are allowed to start over? Philippians 3:13-14
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Our muscles need to rest in between workouts in order to repair, restore, and strengthen. We must also enter into HIS rest in order to repair, restore, and strengthen. In the Old Testament we are told to keep the Sabbath. Rest is necessary. In the New Testament we are invited to enter in to the rest, our Sabbath is the Lord. Rest in Him. Go to Hebrews 4 to read more on this.
As with any fitness program, you will have days when you fall off. Get back up and keep going!!!
On your mark…get set…GO!!!”
Kathy Lonsinger is a Christian, wife, mother of four, student of the bible, and the founder of A Gentle Answer Ministries. She is the editor and one of the writers for the ministry’s online magazine which features stories of hope, Christian media and entertainment, and family resources for parents and grandparents. Kathy has her own blog that reaches readers from Australia to Austin. She has been featured on National Christian Radio’s “The Parent’s Plate” and Our Daily Journal daily devotional. You can follow her on twitter.
Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.