Last night in my Men’s Discipleship Group, we looked at a great passage from 1 Corinthians:
24 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. 25 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
It’s interesting that we are saved by grace, and this is not of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9) but that discipleship very much requires effort on our part – not that by our effort we gain salvation, but it is how we live it out.
As Dallas Willard said, “Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning.”
For myself, I’ve got some serious strategy around improving my physical health this year, to do with eating, and exercise plans. The question I asked myself last night was, am I as intentional about improving my spiritual health? And if not, what do I need to put into place?
One of the disciplines I have added this year, is following an online reading plan. There are plenty of them about, and the one I’m using (Chronological) is from https://www.youversion.com/. I’m told there are other good ones from http://Biblegateway.com also.
Another author (John Ortberg I think) talks about the difference between trying and training. If we got up this morning, and tried to run a marathon, for most of us, it would end in failure. But we could train, and then succeed. The Christian life is more about training, building spiritual muscles, than it is about trying, which depends on willpower alone.
What’s your plan for your spiritual health this year? What training do you need to do?