Eternal Perspectives: What Shape Are We In?
Are our New Year's goals to become more physically fit, to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier foods? How is it with our spirit? Can we choose to be more spiritually fit for Jesus’ sake and our own? How can we achieve such goals?
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Out of Shape
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is the one about losing weight. Statistics prove that each year, more Americans than ever are overweight and suffering from diseases associated with obesity. And no wonder! We’re surrounded by fast-food restaurants, coffee shops offering rich lattes, and grocery stores filled with hundreds of poor eating choices. We’re bombarded by food ads on television, magazines, and billboards. Paradoxically, we also see stacks of diet books, diet helps and medications for ailments brought on by our poor lifestyles.
We can blame only ourselves for our bad habits. Instead of sitting before the television or playing computer games for hours, we could—heaven forbid—exercise! We could quit abusing our bodies with unhealthy food choices, especially refined sugars which are listed as one of the top culprits for poor health. Studies show that people addicted to sugar find it harder to become free of it than those addicted to any other substance.
Every worthwhile endeavor to free ourselves from bad habits takes discipline and time. But just as it requires work to lose weight and become healthier, so it requires work to remain spiritually healthy.
Paul the apostle stresses the importance of spiritual health and exercise. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 he wrote: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly…”
Strict training calls for setting goals and working toward those goals, just as runners do, who compete for a prize. The Bible overflows with advice on how to reach goals for spiritual good health. Try the book of Proverbs, for instance, or the Psalms, to say nothing about Jesus’ own teachings in the Gospels and Paul’s writings to the Christian churches of his time.
Whether we’re overweight in body or underweight in spirit, our best solution is to read and apply God’s Word daily. Such a habit requires discipline, however. Are we willing to spend time with God in His Word every day, taking a bold step to achieve spiritual and physical good health?
Lord, forgive us for the times we’ve allowed ourselves to become out of shape in both body and soul. Cause us to set worthy goals toward physical and spiritual fitness. May we never forget the prize of Your peace, joy, and eternal life with You forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.