A few years ago my wife introduced me to Bill Phillip’s book, Body for Life. I wish I could tell you I followed all the wisdom in that book, but I did read it and attempted to apply some of the principles. Had some results too.
An interesting feature of the book are all the before and after pictures. You know what I’m talking about, because just about any diet commercial uses before and after pictures to show what happens when you follow their diet plan. Although Body for Life uses this approach also, Phillips honestly wants to make you a disciple of the fitness-oriented lifestyle. And most of us know that if we feed our body the right things and exercise, the body will naturally respond by becoming leaner and fitter. If you incorporate the right disciplines then you really can have a great body for most of your natural life.
So I wondered if there might be a spiritual parallel here. Could we just as easily attain a spirit for life? And I say—of course! If we obey God and truly seek Him, then we grow leaner and fitter spiritually. Haven’t most of us experienced that in our own life? It’s hard work too, isn’t it?
To me this kind of answers the age old question—how much does God change me versus how much do I change myself? Yes, my discipline changes me in both cases—body and spirit—but I can’t ever boast. You see, God created the body to respond to exercise, and He recreated our spirits to respond to obedience. As children of God we are new creations. We all start out flabby or chunky in the beginning, but we have the capability to grow and change into something spectacular.
So according to Philippians 2:13,14, we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, but it’s only because God is doing (and has done) His work.
To God be all the glory!
Play along with me in the comments field. I know we can’t take before and after pictures of our spirits, but please share at least one thing that God has changed in your life. How have you become a little leaner and fitter in your spiritual life?