Glencairn Methodist Church
Getting fit and staying fit!
September, at least in this neck of the woods, is a month for new beginnings. Some children are starting school for the first time, or are transferring to "the big school". Some school leavers are getting ready to go to university or to start work.
Some grown-ups will be starting to attend a gymnasium with the intention of working out and getting fit. Some may want to get rid of the "spare tyre" or the "beer belly"; some may want to improve their performance in the 20m dash to catch the bus. And others may simply want to maintain the level of fitness they already have.
To achieve success at getting fit and staying fit, a person must satisfy four criteria:
1. They must have a vision of the body they wish to achieve.
2. They must make a firm decision to achieve this goal.
3. They must persevere with the exercise regime planned for them by their trainer at the gym.
4. They must keep to the balanced nutritious diet planned for them by their dietician at the gym.
Christians, besides looking after their physical well being, need to get spiritually fit and stay spiritually fit. And similar criteria apply to working out in the spiritual development gym:
1. We must have a vision of the person we want to be. We have a readymade role model - Jesus Christ. And the virtues we seek to develop in our lives are the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. When a person becomes a Christian, God graciously forgives their pervious sins, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. But we all know that we go on sinning. And so we need the grace of God to improve our lives, to achieve our goal of being Christ-like.
2. This requires us to make a firm decision to work at developing Christ-likeness in our lives.
3. We are then required to persevere with the training programme, doing exercises in loving, in forgiving, in self control, and so on. And where better to do this than in our spiritual gym, the church, in the company of other Christians, so that we may "encourage one another and build each other up" until we attain " to the whole measure of the fulness of God".
4. For this we need a regular diet of worship, study and prayer
Those of you who have read Graham Tomlin's recent book, Spiritual Fitness (Continuum, 2006), will realise that in the above message I have borrowed heavily from his ideas. I commend this book to you for further reading.
(7 September 2007)
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm