Diet and Exercise|
There is only one plan that ever works for losing weight and becoming physically fit over the long term. It is the same today as it always has been and ever will be. The plan is to eat right and exercise. In most cases, weight loss or gain is simply a matter of how many calories are taken in versus how many calories are burned. It is a metabolic principle that simply cannot be violated.
Nevertheless, there are always deceivers claiming that their new, revolutionary plans will shape you up without the sacrifices and work. You have heard the promises: “Eat great, and lose weight!” “The plan is easy.” “I lost fifty-one pounds on the XYZ plan.” Of course, the fine print says, “Results not typical.” Gimmicks and tricks never work for losing weight over the long term. Maybe you can loose weight for a while, but it always comes back.
Likewise, there are gimmicks and tricks that promise great spiritual results, but they do not work either. There is a constant flow of new books, videos, and websites that offer varying forms of the same empty philosophies. “New Age” religion, emotionalism, and mysticism often give the feeling of spirituality, but they have no substance, and moreover, no truth. People who follow such trends are in constant need of something new to stimulate them into an emotion that they interpret as spirituality. As a result, they will float from one trend to another and never sustain any true spiritual wellbeing.
A person who wants to be truly, spiritually fit must follow God’s plan for spiritual fitness. Spiritual fitness is much like physical fitness in that it comes by the means of diet and exercise. In the case of spiritual fitness, the diet is an intake of God’s true spiritual food, and the exercise is the performance of works that are spiritual in nature. Only by a diligent and consistent pursuit of these things can one attain true spiritual health.
The spiritual diet prescribed by God is a constant intake of His word. Christ quoted from Moses when He said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matt. 4:4). In order for us to grow into spiritual health, God’s word must be our constant desire. Notice 1Peter 2:2 – “…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, the word of God continues to nourish us with greater and deeper spiritual principles. Consider Hebrews 5:13-14a – “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature…” A Christian must continue to study the word of God throughout his life, or else he will quickly become malnourished and spiritually ill.
The spiritual exercise commended by God is the performance of those things that are spiritual in nature rather than carnal. The word “spirit” indicates that which is unseen. Spiritual acts, spiritual words, and spiritual thoughts are the result of belief in that which is unseen, namely God. Such spiritual exercise is the essence of faith. All those great persons of faith in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews acted because they believed in the unseen (consider faith’s definition in Heb. 11:1). They exercised their faith, and thus pleased God. Indeed, it is impossible to please God without such faith or spiritual exercise (Heb. 11:6). When we practice spiritual exercise, then we grow and become spiritually stronger. Again, notice Hebrews 5:14 – “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Without the exercise of that which we learn from God’s word, we cannot become spiritually healthy, for the nourishment of God’s word must provoke us to perform it (“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” – Jas. 1:22).
Therefore, let us not be deceived into following a plan that cannot lead us to spiritual, eternal life. There are no shortcuts by which we may avoid the work and sacrifices required to obtain spiritual health. We cannot substitute the teachings of men for the word of God, for they will not sustain us in a true, spiritual way. We cannot neglect to perform the instructions of God’s word and expect to grow and become spiritually mature. There are no shortcuts, no magic pills, and no revolutionary new programs that can replace the glorious and powerful gospel of Christ. So then, let us follow after God’s prescription and reap the wonderful benefits of true spirituality.
Stacey E. Durham
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