If one of our children got into their 20s and still acted like a 2-year-old, we would have a big problem on our hands – worse still, if they got into their 30s and 40s and were still acting like immature children. Yet from a spiritual standpoint, how careless and complacent some can be toward their spiritual growth.
Because growth toward maturity is to be an actuality in every believer’s life, consider some practical truths to get going and keep going in the growth process toward being spiritual fit.
If people buy a gym membership to get physically fit but aren’t serious about doing anything in the gym, they’re wasting their money. A commitment to active involvement is necessary. The same is true for spiritual fitness. There must be an intentional commitment to get in the game and stay in the game. This does not mean that along the way there won’t be the temptation to throw in the towel and quit, but in order to realize success, one must commit to keep going.
A fitness addict knows that muscles are not built without pumping iron. Heart health requires cardiovascular exercise. Nothing happens automatically. The parallel in the growth of spiritual muscle and heart health as a believer is to realize that nothing happens there automatically either. Those who want an instantaneous, microwaveable solution to their spiritual infancy need to overcome their spiritual laziness and give growth the effort required. It will not happen otherwise.
Developing a physically fit body not only requires effort but also time. The same is true of spiritual fitness. The daily discipline required over weeks and months, even years, is vital for achieving desired growth.
For those who continuously employ these practical truths, growth and fitness will be recognizable. When I go to the gym and continuously give what it takes, I don’t hope for but anticipate a noticeable difference. Likewise, when we get in on God’s plan for spiritual fitness, before long we can expect evidence that God is working in us. Noticeable transformation will occur in time according to the commitment we make and the effort we put in. Possessing and maintaining spiritual fitness requires that we “Just keep going!” (and going and going).
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Doug Metzger is a retired pastor in Canton, Ga., who served churches 20-plus years in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and California in addition to eight years with the North American Mission Board as director of prayer evangelism and, earlier, director of its Strategic Focus Cities emphasis and three years with its predecessor, the Home Mission Board, as associate director of personal evangelism.)