I know, I know…here we go with another acronym! This thought came to me about 6:15 Friday morning, as I was playing some basketball at the local YMCA. I always say, my best ideas come when I’m either sound asleep, or not focused on thinking at all! So (and this is a valuable lesson) always be prepared to write something down, or like I do, keep an ongoing Evernote file or WorkFlowy document handy, otherwise, you will forget. And I have had that happen to me way to many times.
So, when I’m at the gym, I am thinking that everyone that is there is there for one of two reasons: 1) to get in shape, or 2) to stay in shape.
When it comes to the spiritual man, our relationship with God, even maintaining healthy relationships with others, we all need to consider getting in, or staying in S.H.A.P.E.
- Spiritual. I know in 2016, the word spiritual has a little different meaning than it did 20 years ago. No offense, but tree huggers are spiritual. Doing yoga is spiritual. Call me old school, but when I think of spiritual, I think of what the Bible says about the value of being spiritual. Romans 8:8 (KJV) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. The New Living Translation says it like this: So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. This is what I want to emphasize, allowing God’s spirit to control you, your mind, your thoughts, your emotions, even your actions will bring you life and peace. Ultimately, it can lead to you getting in and staying in S.H.A.P.E.
Heart. In this context, to me, the heart represents two things. Our motives and our passions. Most people that take care of staying in shape physically, have some kind of motivation to get up early, or to stay up late, to exhaust and push themselves physically. Perhaps they are genetically predisposed to diabetes, or some other kind of disease that can be prevented by just staying in shape. Clearly, to eat healthy, to work out consistently, requires a great deal of passion as well. So, if you’re wanting to get in shape, first seek out something to motivate you, and then discover a passion for making the necessary changes and adjustments.
Active. Obviously, when it comes to getting or staying in shape physically, being active is paramount! I suggest, that our spiritual S.H.A.P.E. also requires us to be active. Hopefully, you’re already involved in ministry at your local church. If not, don’t assume that there aren’t any jobs for you, or that your services are not needed! After nearly 20 years in ministry, I can tell you that every church needs more laborers! In fact, I’m reminded of what Luke 10:2 says “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” I’ve heard is said and preached many times, the problem is NOT with the harvest, but the problem is with the laborers, or the lack thereof! So, set up an appointment with your Pastor, or perhaps someone that is over ministry and volunteer placement within your local assembly, take a spiritual gifts test, pray about it, and get active!
Prayer. Yes, this is the obligatory suggestion to pray. However, I want you to maybe reconsider your approach to prayer. Prayer is not a monologue, but I approach prayer rather as a dialogue, a conversation, if you will. In fact, sometimes, I feel bad for talking so much when I pray, and have to remind myself to shut up and listen for once! After all, are my words more important? Or are God’s words more important? I made the observation that our very approach to prayer should not be out of an obligation, but instead an opportunity! After all, we should daily take advantage of the opportunity that we have to have a conversation with the Creator of the universe!
Every Day. To be honest with you, this is probably one of the most difficult hindrances to most people being in shape. It’s the daily consistency that is required in order to maintain an optimum level of health. One day a week? No problem. A few times a month? Most people could do that. But paying careful attention, DAILY, to getting in, or staying in shape is where most of us struggle. At the ripe old age of 38, I am challenging myself to drastically change my dietary and exercising habits (read Living Forward by Michael Hyatt for some awesome insight into how to plan for your future)! And believe me, it has not been easy. After all, I’ve spent the better part of 10 years frequently eating at fast food restaurants, and sporadically working out. Sure, I have had my moments, but I’ve neglected the EVERY DAY aspect of living a healthy lifestyle.
The challenge is simple. Get in S.H.A.P.E. and stay in S.H.A.P.E.
Does it take all 5 of the concepts mentioned above? Maybe, maybe not. But the one thing I do know, is it is highly unlikely that you will accidentally get in better shape, so follow this blueprint, and enjoy the journey my friends.
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