Words by Adam Brewer | Image by Al Blanton
Pastor John Piper noted, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
In a world filled with distractions, Christ calls us to a disciplined life of pursuing godliness. “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1Timothy 4:7-8).
The work of God’s saving and sanctifying grace in our lives leads us to the spiritual training gym where we unlearn sin and learn holiness. “Through disciplining ourselves spiritually, we shed the excess weight of ungodliness and worldly desires, and build muscle mass of self-control, uprightness, and holiness,” says Pastor Robby Gallaty in the book Growing Up. This training is a life-long pursuit with present and eternal benefits. It isn’t a transformation we will simply “fall into.” Rather, this training and transformation demands rigorous focus and intentionality.
One of my hobbies is exercising and lifting weights. Though I’ll never compete in a “World’s Strongest Man,” I do aspire to be healthy. At the gym, you’ll see individuals with various levels of commitment to becoming healthy. I’m inspired by those who, over months and years, put in the hard work of shedding excess weight and bad eating habits to transform their bodies and lives. These people are committed to clean eating in a fast-food culture. They refuse to be distracted by the lure of junk food and laziness anymore. Having acknowledged their unhealthiness, they submit to a disciplined pattern of living that changes their lives. The promised rewards of physical discipline capture their heart so that distractions are more easily ignored.
Likewise, Jesus offers us spiritual health and maturity. He knows our souls will not be satisfied by feasting on the cultural junk foods of iPhones, social media, Netflix binge-watching, sports, or living through the accomplishments of our kids. These may give us a momentary high, but the “sugar-crash” of the soul inevitably follows.
Spiritual junk food has no sustaining power. Many of us claim we desire to be more Christ-like, but our daily rhythms and priorities prove otherwise. Therefore, our spiritual eating and exercising habits must change. Only as we become diligent in daily reading and reflecting on God’s Word will our spiritual stomachs be filled (Proverbs 13:4). Our prayer muscles will only be strengthened by regularly lifting our praises and requests to God. It may leave us feeling a little tired or sore the first few days, but the disciplined person will overcome it by persevering in prayer.
Our spiritual lung capacity for worship will increase as we worship weekly with brothers and sisters in Christ. Oh, there will most definitely be distractions when we submit to God’s training regimen. In the quiet before God, your hand will want to pick up the phone for a quick social media fix, and your mind will convince you that there are a thousand other things to do. Don’t be duped by the distractions. Our goal is godliness, and Christ satisfies those who train themselves for godliness. Let’s hit God’s gym.
Just One More,