Chocolate featured in the post that went up last Saturday and I am pleased to report that the bar of chocolate in the drawer under my desk has not been completely consumed. The temptation to eat more chocolate than I should is a strong one, but given that a single 100 gram bar contains approximately 20% of the calories I should consume each day this is a temptation I need to resist. The evidence of eating too much chocolate would soon be visible on the scales and on my waist. At my age it is a struggle not to gain unwanted weight, but also to retain fitness. My Fitbit helps with the weight and the fitness as it monitors my daily activities and the calories I consume and burn. Despite meeting all my fitness targets last week my weight and waist measurement remained unchanged. Chocolate?
Then there is the question of spiritual fitness. Is it possible to be spiritually fat rather than spiritually fit? If it is, then am I maintaining spiritual fitness or am I becoming overweight spiritually? If we consider the physical equivalents then maintaining fitness requires effort, discipline, and a degree of common sense. If we eat the wrong things, or too much of the wrong stuff, and we fail to exercise then our bodies will begin to respond accordingly, and lethargy may set in. If we only consume spiritual food while sat on our backsides being spoon fed in church like infants in highchairs then we will not grow into spiritual adulthood. We will become spiritually obese, given perhaps to the assumption that we have grown spiritually when in fact we haven’t moved a single inch. Instead the inches have piled onto our spiritual waistlines to the extent that we have become spiritually immobile.
How wish I could clip a small device into my pocket to measure my spiritual fitness and show me what I need to do more of, and what I need to change in my spiritual lifestyle. What might a spiritual Fitbit look like? I guess my journal helps me monitor my spiritual fitness. I have kept a journal since August 2000, and am now on book thirty-six. Looking back it is easy to see where I was growing, but the weeks when I hardly had time to sit quietly with God jump out of the page at me. This year God has been constantly reminding me of the need for personal prayer, and for the space in my life for His Holy Spirit to increase in me. This week God has been gently whispering about the power in the name of Jesus, power that I so routinely forget about or simply ignore. When I forget to spend time with God, when I fail to listen for His voice, when I neglect to feed carefully, then I will inevitably end up letting out the spiritual belt. Bringing that belt in a notch and keeping it where it should be is a blessing, but it is hard work. It requires discipline but the benefits are eternal.
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:9-14 NLT)