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Staying Fit

Sunday, August 2, 2020

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5, NIV.

When it comes to our bodies, nothing lasts forever. First we are young, then we grow old. After eating a meal, we get hungry again. We drink to our fill, but need more water later. And no matter how much we exercise to stay in shape, that effect wears off if we do not repeat it regularly.

Experts in exercise physiology tell us that the body starts to decondition after 48 hours of nonactivity. That means if you rest too long between exercise sessions, your body will begin to lose its tone. If you neglect exercise long enough, you will eventually lose most of the benefits of your previous efforts.

I learned that lesson myself with great frustration one year when a knee injury forced me to suspend my jogging routine for several months. Prior to this injury, I was averaging 20 miles a week. After my recuperation I returned to the track and could barely run a mile without feeling winded. It was a discouraging setback and a painful reminder to me that exercise must be continual for the benefits to linger. I cannot take this year off and expect last year’s efforts to carry me on indefinitely.

When it comes to my relationship with God, the rules are very much the same. A healthy Christian experience requires a regular routine of prayer, study, and connection with our heavenly Father. Like eating, sleeping, and exercising, it demands daily attention. And like our physical bodies, our spiritual vitality quickly atrophies with indolence.

God could have designed us to draw all our nutrition by simply breathing the required nutrients from the air around us. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with the daily necessity of eating. He could have engineered our physiology so that a one-mile jog would yield Olympic results for a lifetime. But He didn’t, and I suspect He had a reason, with a lesson to teach us.

Human physical and spiritual requirements are similar. Ignore your body’s needs, and you pay a price in weakness and debilitation. Neglect your relationship with God, and your spiritual health will wither like a branch cut off from the vine.

So, get fit—but don’t forget to stay fit.

It’s time to get organized. What in your physical or spiritual life should you schedule into your day, to make sure you stay fit?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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