Christian encouragement, christian journey, christian walk, Christianity, devotional, devotions, encouragement, exercise, family devotions, irritations, muscles, soreness, spiritual exercise, spiritual muscles, touchiness
I’m one of those annoying people who actually exercise. It’s a huge stress reliever for me and also keeps me from looking like a walrus because I love to eat, especially the sweet stuff. I’m not saying my exercise routine is perfect, or that I enjoy it every day, but I try to get it done as often as possible. Sometimes, it’s simply a chore I need to cross of my list, but on a good day I love the activity. There is just something about getting my heart pumping, focusing on a goal and finishing a routine that I never thought I could accomplish a few months before that I really enjoy.
Yesterday, I woke up and moved my arm only to discover my shoulders were unbelievably sore. Reaching for anything, especially to close the car door, about killed me, but the crazy thing was I couldn’t imagine what I’d done to cause the soreness. The day before had not been “arm day”, so I was really confused. Then, it hit me. I remembered turning on Wii Sports to see how many steps I could get out of a few games just for the fun of it. I was curious. I tried a tennis game, a race type activity and… boxing. A lightbulb went off in my head! Even though I only “fought” one match, wow was I sore. I couldn’t believe it! I work out my shoulders and arms often, but (as my husband was quick to point out) boxing took a different group of muscles. I wasn’t used to working my muscles in that particular way, so now I was very uncomfortable.
Paul tells us in I Timothy 4:7 to train ourselves in godliness. That’s a short statement that takes in a massive directive. Just like our physical body, our spiritual body has to be trained in order to be healthy. We work one muscle group and we eventually get somewhat comfortable with it, but then we work another muscle group and realize maybe we aren’t in as good a shape as we thought. So it is with our spiritual life. We get used to exercising some muscles like generosity, or forgiveness and we actually get comfortable with those, but then we might need to exercise our faith, or contentment and OUCH… we get uncomfortable quick! Just when we think we are “in shape” spiritually, God reminds us that we still have work to do. I am so thankful that He keeps training us, aren’t you?
My physical soreness made me wonder about my spiritual soreness. I’ll be honest, there are some people that cause sore spots to develop in my life. I become touchy and don’t want to stretch and use certain spiritual muscles because to put it simply…it hurts. It makes me uncomfortable. First Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” That’s a spiritual muscle that needs work in my life. When I start working it, it’s going to get sore….quick. But, when that spiritual muscle develops it eventually will just be part of my routine. Will I want to put the interests of others first every day? I doubt it, especially at first, but when I exercise that muscle, the soreness won’t be as quick to develop as it once was. I won’t be as uncomfortable the more I work that muscle group. At some point, I will be able to look at what I couldn’t do in the past and be amazed how God trained me and molded me into a better shape, a more Christ-like shape. First Timothy 4:8 says, “For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Ask God to help you exercise the muscle groups that you’ve long neglected. It might be the muscle of love, perseverance, patience, or forgiveness. Ask Him to place you at the bottom of that spiritual hill and make you climb it. The cool thing about God is that He won’t leave you there to make it on your own. Even though you may not realize it, He’s the kind of trainer who pushes you from behind, whispers (or yells) encouragement in your ear and reaches down to pull you over the top. I love that about Him! No matter the training He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
So, ask God to stretch some of your spiritual muscles. Trust Him. Get uncomfortable and feel that soreness and touchiness disappear. Who knows? You may just get in the best shape of your life!