Call to Fitness

November 5, 2015

1 Timothy 4:8
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Call to Fitness

Sometimes our spiritual muscles and countenance begin to droop and sag over time like much of the rest of our body. The spiritual man need not grow old. He is the eternal youth and life that lives in us. But if left to neglect the spiritual man can’t serve us. Certainly we need to care for the temple of this natural body, for it is what houses and facilitates the spiritual man within us. Our greater obligation and responsibility is to the spiritual man. This is the eternal part of us that is both now and forever.
The spiritual man is fed as we read and study God’s word. The spirit man feeds on truth. He is exercised as he acts upon this truth in faith. He is strengthened and activated in our life of prayer and fellowship with the Lord. Spirit feeds spirit. Do we spend as much time a day feeding our spiritual man as we do our natural man? Are we as attentive to our spiritual needs as we are our physical needs? Would your natural man be in better or worse shape if it was given the same amount of attention and food a day as you give your spirit man? When we put it in this perspective we might see why we might be spiritually weak and ineffective, not only in our lives but in the lives of others.
This is our day to awaken to our spiritual self and who we are in Christ. This is not just a head knowledge, it is a call to spiritual alertness and fitness. I can set on the couch and watch fitness and exercise programs all day long, but unless I engage my body in those routines no amount of mental agreement or ascent will change my physical state. Many of us listen to the word of God and we have a lot of spiritual head knowledge, but like James says, “faith without works is dead”. In order for us to have spiritual strength we have to exercise our spiritual man. James 1:22 exhorts us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” We are a kingdom people called for a kingdom purpose. We must become sensitized to who we are as a spiritual people and not just a natural people. We must see our world through God’s perspective and then act out of our spiritual man in life’s circumstances. Maybe it is just offering to pray for someone or building them up through an encouraging word. Maybe it is random acts of kindness and selfless giving. Whatever it is, it needs to be Christ finding expression through our lives and everyday circumstances. This is exercising our spiritual man.
Jesus commissions our spiritual man in Luke 17:15-18, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” How many of us are walking daily in this commission? We have to have a strong and energized spiritual man to carry our what we are called to do. The Lord is calling us to spiritual fitness so that we can make a difference in our world. Let us exercise ourselves in all faith and godliness that He may be lifted up and glorified through us.

Blessings,
#kent

The Pruning

January 19, 2015

The Pruning

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

The true substance and character of a healthy and fruitful branch is not in the outward, but in the inward. The outward is the glory and the fruit of the inward, but it is not the substance of it.
Why does God want to prune us even when we are fruitful? It is so that we can bear more fruit. Our outward fruitfulness may be already abundant and good, but human nature is such that even when we are spiritually fruitful, pride and complacency can creep in. When God blesses our lives with much increase in whatever dimension that takes place, it isn’t long before that little voice starts saying, ‘look what I have done’. Pruning keeps us focused on the vine and the source of our substance and fruitfulness. It creates renewed dependence upon the vine and strips the glory from the self. It helps us to not just dwell and live upon past experiences, miracles and victories. It serves to stretch us and cause to grow when we would be complacent to remain as we are. Without pruning things tend to grow wild. There may be a lot of growth, but not as much fruit. Pruning then brings focus. It keeps our eyes upon the Spirit and not upon the flesh. It causes us to remember our source of life and fruit so that we boast in the Vine and not in ourselves.
Don’t despise the days of pruning. They are the loving hands of the Father at work in you, His children. Left to itself, a branch may produce leaves, but not fruit and eventually even the leaves will die. The branch then must be cut off and cast out. It becomes a detriment to the health of the vine. Thank God He loves us enough that He doesn’t want that to happen to us and so He cares for us in what often may seem to be severe ways. Those who know Him rest in the passage from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him and called according to His purpose.” Often we don’t understand the why and wherefore of all that takes place in our lives, but our eyes and our hearts must remain steadfastly upon the Vinedresser. He is working all things for His glory and our good. He will never maliciously harm that which He loves and cares for, but do what is necessary to bring it to its highest and best potential and productivity.
What hinders the process of the pruning and in turn our growth, is our self, our ego and stubbornness to pursue our own interest and do our own will. In addition to this we often get offended at God or others that God uses in the process of our pruning. If it doesn’t make sense to us, then it must not be fair or just. God sees the end of a thing and we tend to get hung up and focused on the process. This is why it is so important to have a vision that sees the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus and not let anything or any circumstance detour us from that vision and that goal. Our ability to run the race is in that One who has called us to it and not in ourselves. Our reliance must always remain on Him and not on us.
Just remember Hebrews 12:7-11, “If] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God is training His people up to produce something more than religious flesh. He is preparing a people with the substance and the nature of His Son. So don’t neglect to praise Him even when it hurts. He loves you and He is ever working for your good.

Blessings,
#kent

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