Spiritual Food and Exercise

..what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:3-9)

The 8th chapter of Romans is one of my favorites. In this passage the Apostle Paul says some insightful things about the relationship of the heart and the head. Here is what I get from it:
  1. A contrast is drawn between walking in the flesh and in the Spirit.
  2. The ability to walk in the Spirit is not dependent upon one's mental understanding of the law (i.e. the bible).
  3. The mind seems to be something that gets direction from the innermost being (i.e. the heart).
  4. When one walks in the Spirit the mind is not in control.
  5. Having the Spirit is the definition of being a Christian.
What this passage doesn't speak to specifically is how a person can be a Christian (i.e have the Spirit) and not walk in the Spirit. I have written on this topic a few times so I will not belabor it but simply say that it is a matter of which is stronger.. your innermost or outermost being. I think that to be strong on the inside requires two things: feeding and exercise.
Feeding: Growth of any kind requires food.. this is the intake side of life. Spiritual growth requires spiritual food.. I will simply call this food "truth". This truth food comes to us in many forms - personal study, teaching, counseling and prayer.. just to name but a few. For this food to be effectively digested it must be received in humility.. without humility the food will not accomplish what is is meant to do - provide the means for growth.

Exercise: Jesus said (in John 4:34) that His nourishment came from doing Gods will. In this I think that we see a link from just eating and getting spiritually fat to being spiritually fit. Without exercising our heart through faith we simply get fat on the inside and become ineffective in the kingdom of God. Spiritual exercise can come in many forms but is always exercise that is directed from within.. exercise directed from without has little spiritual value. If one is directed from within to do something and then acts on that direction they take part in exercising their innermost being.. bringing spiritual strength.
Apart from spiritual food and exercise we will simply be unable to walk in the Spirit. We will continue to wrestle with the flesh and sinful desires.. but through a consistent program of spiritual diet and exercise we will eventually see our lives change and spiritual fruit grow.

1 comment:

  1. Very good!!! Timely message with the new year approaching us and so many making New Years resolution both about physical dieting and exercising and recommitment on the spiritual level.


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