When you step back from the Christian faith and get some distance, you will notice that there are two important elements of the CF. One, is faith in Jesus Christ. It all starts with Jesus. If we are to have a right relationship with God it must start with him. His death and resurrection was his way of showing us the path to God.
As you take another step back, you will notice a second element to the CF. It would be the Christian Faith Disciplines!
There are these disciplines that we put in place as training tools to assist in the work of God in our lives. To be real clear, disciplines are not about us trying harder to change. They are the practices that God uses in the transformation of our lives.
Let me give an example: You don't like your boss (hypothetical of course). When you see your boss, you have some very strong thoughts and feelings about him or her. Now, the discipline to transform your thoughts is what would be the discipline of memorization of bible verses. Committing verses to memory. This helps in that moment when the negative thought enters your mind, you very quickly replace that thought with the verses that you have been memorizing. It's a training tool for those moments.
If that doesn't work for you, think about an athlete that trains over and over. They train their bodies to do something, so that in game situations, it becomes automatic for them to respond. Very little thought would go into that response. Why? Because they have trained.
Now, back to Christian Faith Disciplines. I believer there is a discipline that needs more air time. You might have heard a preacher talk about the discipline of bible reading, prayer or even giving. But, when was the last time you heard a message on the CFD of fitness? Yes fitness!!!
I am going to go to go public with this - Fitness is the missing discipline for many people who are seeking to follow Jesus.
The Apostle Paul is very clear about this. He tells us that we are to "honor God with our bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:20
When you honor someone, you give them your best. You give them a medal or an award that shows how much you honor them. You are not going to honor them with a dollar store ribbon or a plaque that was stored away in a box.
If I am to honor God with my body, then I better make sure it's in the best condition possible. I want to present it to him in a way that shows Him that I have taken care of it, not abused it or even mis-handled it. Imagine what it would be like to say to God everyday: I honor you God with my body and it's healthy and strong. Important to notice - I am not talking about being skinny or thin. I am not even talking about looking like the front cover of the underwear package :)
Not only do I believe that the bible supports this discipline, but I have experienced this in my own life. A few years ago I began the journey of taking care of my body. I started to exercise and eat healthier (cut back chip intake). I was surprised by how it transformed my life with God. There was a connection I did not see coming. It unlocked an area of my life that created a freshness in my ability to follow God.
I was taught growing up that reading my bible, prayer and church participation are important disciplines, and they are. But never did I hear anyone talk about fitness as a discipline.
This is a new year. I hope that you will move towards taking care of your body. Remember, your body is a gift from God. Will you honor him with the body he has given you?
Maybe this discipline is the one that is missing in your life?