Getting into Shape

I am trying to get into shape. But then, round is a shape.

January is a time when everyone wants to lose a few pounds. The stores have exercise equipment on sale. Gyms offer membership specials. We need to get into shape after the holidays. Have you made it yet? How do you know when you get there?

With the sports I played, conditioning was needed. The better my shape, the better I played. For backpacking, I tell the men to prepare for real physical exertion. The better prepared, the more they will enjoy the trips. How do they know when they are ready? They do the best they can. But no matter how prepared they are; they could have done more.

My dad used to laugh when I said I was getting into shape. I said it often. I never said I was “in shape”. I knew I could be better. It became a joke with Dad. He said I was always “getting” into shape. Well, after all these years, I am still “getting” into shape. I want to be ready for the backpacking this summer. I want to be ready for a pick-up basketball game or whatever I may do. I want to be physically able to do it.

The same is true spiritually. How do we know when we are mature? How do we know when we are ready for what is ahead? In one sense, God will always give grace. In another, we are to exercise faith. We are to grow spiritually. Paul used athletic metaphors to describe our walk with God. It is similar. We need to keep growing and stretching in our walk. It prepares us to do what He asks of us and go where He sends.

There are people who do not take care of their physical bodies.  There are also believers who are spiritually lazy. I find my body needs exercise. I need to be ready spiritually. I need to study to be a workman who is not ashamed. I need to keep my intimate relationship with the Lord. Sometimes I feel the work. Other times it is easy. I need to be in good spiritual shape and getting better.

Yes, I am getting in shape for backpacking this summer. In the same way, I am seeking better spiritual conditioning. “Yes Dad, I’m still trying to get into shape.”

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