It is a beautiful sunny day here in Oregon, which is a nice change from the cold and rain we have been experiencing since what seems like forever. Earlier in the day I sat down to write my post for today, but I couldn’t think of anything to write. So I decided to take my dog for a walk to our local Petco to get some dog and cat treats we are out of. My original plan for today had been to drive to a PetSmart that is farther away, but because it was so nice I decided a walk would be better and I knew my dog would appreciate a walk.
So this is where I have to confess that I am out of shape and do not get enough exercise. It is less than a mile each direction to Petco, but by the time I got there my legs were tired and I was kind of wishing I had driven there after all. And that was before I had to walk back home carrying the bag of treats! I guess a long winter of not getting any exercise can really leave a person out of shape.
I know that if I walked my dog every day, or even every other day, after a while I would be in better shape and this short walk to Petco would be a breeze. I know this because I used to walk my dog for at least a mile, and usually more, almost every day. When I first started that habit, it was difficult because I was out of shape then, too. But as I developed a habit of taking my dog for a walk and just kept doing it, and it became easier and even enjoyable. I was in better shape then and felt much better, much healthier all the time.
As I got home, I thought about how this principle applies to my spiritual life as well. If I don’t read my Bible or spend time in prayer, or if I don’t go to church for a long time, and then I try to do all three in one day it will be overwhelming and I will feel tired and out of shape. I can find myself wishing I had just watched some TV or read a novel instead. But I know that if I develop a habit of reading my Bible and other Christian writing, of daily prayer, and of going to church regularly, then these spiritual disciplines will become easier and more enjoyable. Then because of them I will be in better spiritual shape and will feel better and healthier overall. But I also know I need to take it slowly and not expect too great of results right away, or I will become discouraged.
Over the past few years I have focused on the spiritual disciplines and have been blessed as a result, but it occurred to me today that I need to combine this with the physical discipline of exercising on a regular basis. It seems in my life I have tended to do one or the other. But to be completely healthy and balanced these things must go hand in hand. For the development of both of these disciplines I must rely on God. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT). It is His Holy Spirit that has shaped in me the self-discipline to strengthen my spiritual health. His Holy Spirit will also shape in me the self-discipline to strengthen my physical health as well, if only I ask.