Monday, April 4, 2011

add to your exercises

It hit me the other day when I was in the gym. In between one set of lifting, I stopped and looked at the charts on the walls that illustrated all the things you could do with the machines and weights that were there. Honestly, I usually stick to about six exercises that I repeat three times a week, but if I wanted to really get stronger, I would add exercises to work different muscles in different ways. The spiritual life is very similar. Most of us understand that prayer and Bible study/reading are important - they are like the push ups and sit ups for training your soul. They are very effective, but there are more exercises. Sometimes these are called "spiritual disciplines" but the idea is the same - exercise your soul in a different way this week by trying these new workouts: 1. Fasting - go without food for a meal or a day in order to pray and to show God that you do not live on bread alone. 2. Lasting - make sure you take the last place in every setting for one week. Let others go ahead of you at the door, in the store checkout, in traffic. Jesus said the last will be humility in this simple way. 3. Silence - Turn off all of your gadgets, computers, cell phones, etc... and find a quiet place. Simply invite God into your presence and sit there. The Psalmist says, "be still and know that I am God" 4. Memorization - Put one verse of Scripture to memory this week. Pick a verse or two and write it on a it every chance you get. Commit this to memory. The Psalmist also says, "Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against God." 5. Solitude - This goes well with silence. Find a place to get away from it all. Maybe even just a park on your lunch break. Avoid people and try to notice God....just be aware of his presence. 6. Sing - If you're old school, find a hymn book and sing some of your favorites. You can also pop in your favorite worship c.d. or download from the web and sing praises and prayers to God. Your only musical worship doesn't have to be on Sundays at church. 7. Secretly give - bless someone you know with an anonymous gift. The anonymity makes it rewarding because you know you are doing it not for the praise for thanks, but simply as a gift to God. God will see you act and reward you in His way (see Matthew 7). Well, there you have it. Try one or several of these spiritual exercises this week. Go ahead, feel the burn. And grow some spiritual muscle.

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