Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Hebrews 12:12
Saint Paul compared life to a strenuous athletic contest. There are many points of comparison. For one thing, life as a whole, like participation in sports, requires the expending of great energy on a sustained basis. That's why we need to exercise ourselves spiritually--to be and remain in shape.
Saint Paul writes, "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize" (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
It is not enough once to have lived in Christ. To keep on living in Him as members of His body and as branches connected to the vine, we need to stay in shape--we need to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1). We can get rid of excess fat and flabbiness and acquire a good muscle-tone of faith. We can cultivate good spiritual health so that these fruits of the Spirit may grow in us: "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
Alive in Him who died for us on the cross to redeem us from sin and who now lives in us, we do want to be in shape to serve Him with the strength that the Holy Spirit gives us. When we are diligent in the study of God's Word and in prayer, we acquire the spiritual vitality we need from day to day to live for Jesus Christ and to serve Him. In doing this, we shall live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us. It's our way of saying "Thank You" to God.
PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, through spiritual exercise, strengthen me for service to You. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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