Saturday, November 29, 2008

Keeping fit

I Thessalonians 5:23-28
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together--spirit, soul, and body--and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!
Friends, keep up your prayers for us. Greet all the Christians there with a holy embrace. And make sure this letter gets read to all the brothers and sisters. Don't leave anyone out.
The amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you!

Today's society is obsessed with physical fitness. Look at the covers of the magazines in the grocery store. They all have headings that tell us how to lose weight, increase strength, lower cholesterol, etc. What if they all gave advice about spiritual fitness? What would it do for our society if instead of body building advice, we would see faith building advice? What if people paid big bucks for personal spiritual trainers instead of fitness trainers? Because of my cynicism of late, I am looking skeptically at all the health advice out there. My friend Sharyl lives one of the healthiest lifestyles of anyone I know--she has cancer. My sister Phyllis never smoked, never drank, yet exposure to a chemical in her job caused her to have lung and liver damage. Of course, the important thing for both of them is not their physical health; their spiritual health is more important than anything else. I watched as Phyllis fought for her life physically, but her faith was what grew by leaps and bounds in her final years. We will not know what struggles Sharyl has in front of her until she sees her oncologist Wednesday, but in talking to her last night it was obvious that she is relying on God right now for her strength.
I have had to turn everything over to God during these past weeks because I have absolutely no strength on my own. Why did it take such a huge personal tragedy for me to get to that point? I do appreciate the prayers of my friends and family. Everywhere I went this weekend, I saw people who gave "holy embraces" and told me that they had been thinking of us and praying for us. For the first time in my life, I have felt the prayers of others and have gained spiritual strength from them. Wouldn't it be cool if someone could help me get physically fit by just praying for me? As many people as have been praying for me lately, I would be ready for the olympics.

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