Influencers Weekly Devotional
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Abide with ME
Abiding Physically - Part One
The Disciplined Lifestyle
SCRIPTURE: “So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9: 26-27 (ESV)
THOUGHT: Paul spoke of maintaining a disciplined lifestyle. He used the metaphor of an athlete in training to make a point about a Man of God’s training in righteousness. Even though His analogy spoke directly to the spiritual disciplines, the physical training of a Man of God must be considered within his exhortation.
APPLICATION: Paul was the master of clarifying a point. He would use analogies that were connected to events and common practices in the region to which he ministered, as a way to make relevant the need for knowing Christ and following Him. Such was the case with his letter to the Christians in Corinth. Corinth was a thriving populace, and like America, they were enamored with the athletic games of the day. I’m sure they had sports personalities as popular, and as recognizable, as the ones today. Most people at that time, as they do today, understood the most successful athletes were those who trained their bodies with exercise, nutrition, and necessary rest. These things caused them to compete more successfully in the games. Therefore, it was a relevant connection for Paul to speak of spiritual disciplines metaphorically and relate them to physical training. But the question needs to be asked, “Did Paul’s exhortation also speak to the need for physical training with God’s man?” I think so, for I believe Paul would recall his own words when he faced his prison time, as he physically prepared for his release. He knew he would be called to travel as he preached the Gospel, and he would need to be fit.
God’s Man is not limited to physical strength in being able to serve the King. There are many people who have been debilitated by sickness or injury and have still served God’s purpose for their lives. In fact, when a Man of God is weak in self-dependence, he is made strong in his dependence on God. However, a man who is able to maintain his strength and stamina will be able to serve physically when God points to Him. He is able, and he is ready.
Over 45 years ago, there was a famous coach named Vince Lombardi. He made a short film clip which was used by sales organizations to encourage their executives to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the film, Coach Lombardi made an observation I will never forget. He said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” These words are as relevant to me as Paul’s words were to the Corinthians. In the past 13 months, I have had 3 surgeries to my leg and knees. The result of these surgeries and rehab has made me understand firsthand that no matter how deeply a man loves God and is committed to His purpose, when chronic fatigue occupies a life, the courage and ability to carry out the passion of one’s heart is compromised. Therefore, if at all possible, it is imperative that God’s Man train his body physically, as well as spiritually, so that his resolve and courage is not hampered by unnecessary fatigue.
Personally, I have a long road back to the physical health and stamina that I desire and need to serve my King with the opportunities given me. At 66 years old, I face a battle with constant pain and slow healing. The tempting solution my mind tells me to use is to simply give in and give up. I must not yield to this temptation. Therefore, I need more than simple resolve and willpower a man alone can muster. I need spiritual motivation along with mental motivation to encourage me to not give up. I need a heavenly Coach to walk me through the training to which I must submit, and I have One. I believe my abiding relationship with Christ will provide me the Coach and coaching I need, and surely He will help me get up and get going after His men. He will help me with the physical recovery I must go through. I share my story with you to connect with you about physical needs you may be facing, to encourage you to ask Jesus to join with you in your efforts.
I believe there are men who are reading this devotional who need to understand the critical importance of being a steward of your body, and as with all stewardship, your life should be presented to God as a living and holy sacrifice. A sacrifice to God is worthy of being the best we have to offer, not a “blemished lamb.” Our bodies are a temple of God and a vehicle for carrying our souls around, along with the Holy Spirit. As with a car that transports us to where we desire to go must be maintained, so it is with our bodies. The better it is maintained, the better the trip. Men, let us apply stewardship principles to our bodies, honoring God by not neglecting our responsibility to keep them strong and healthy.
REPLY TO GOD: Father. I understand that I could have done a better job with maintaining this body. But I also realize it is not too late to turn it around. If I were in it simply for looks or to feel better, I would lack the motivation to give it my best effort, and surely You would not be impressed either. Instead, I see the challenges ahead as an opportunity to worship You by joining with you so You can Coach me up, and train me, and prepare me physically for the future. I look forward to the hours in the gym or walking, or any exercise that I will face, for I know that we go together when we work out. You and I will abide in the gym or track as closely as being on any mountaintop experience that I could have, for You will be with me. Lord, I want to commit my ways to you, and dedicate ahead of time the life and body that comes from the training we will go through. I want to be physically stronger, and have more stamina so that I can lift the head of someone in pain and shoulder the load of those who need help. I want to have the energy and heart to love and serve my family in such a way that they feel your strength pouring through my body.
Lord, there are also men out there who are my brothers, and they have all but given up on their physical needs. These are good men who have put You and their family, and even other people, ahead of themselves. They work hard all day, and when it is over, they are so tired they do not consider anything other than rest. Taking care of their health and physical condition is the last thing on their list. I ask You to help them to consider their own needs as well, especially in the area of exercise and health needs. They need motivation from You and assurance that You are with them as they try to take steps to take care of their physical needs. Lord, I give You these men, and pray for the efforts they will put forward to be a steward of the body You have given them. To Your glory, and in the name of Jesus I pray, and dedicate these men.
Category: Influencer's Weekly Devotionals
Scribbled at March 02, 2011 11:21:AM by Patrick Allen
AMEN!!!! I think as it is with any positive change, disclipline leads to desire. As the body heals and strengthens it becomes a very sought out time to sweat and push yourself. I am praying for all of us to strengthen our bodies to carry out the work that He has planned for us in advance. Pat
Scribbled at March 02, 2011 12:56:PM by Brad sprague
Rocky right on target with what God is asking me to focus on as one of the three most important goals this year. Thank you for using your writing gift for the Lord. brad
Links & Resources
Influencers- Bakersfield, CA
Influencers-Bayside Church, Northern California
Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest"
Tulsa Men of Christ
Archive By Month