Tag Archives: spirtual victory

God’s Guide to Spiritual Fitness

In support of our 2017 Lydia’s Market theme of Living Well, I’d like to focus this week’s teaching on a key disciple that is foundational for “living well”—spiritual fitness.  For our discussion today spiritual fitness is defined as the state or condition of being qualified and suitable for God’s purpose. Examples of spiritual fitness can be found throughout the Bible and is generally synonymous with righteous living.

In the Old Testament, Noah was described as “a just man, perfect in his generation, walking with God (Gen. 6:9).   Noah’s spiritual fitness insured his determination in completing the daunting task of building the ArkIn the New Testament, spiritual fitness is connected to the renewing of the mind as a result of being new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).  Concurrently, the “new man” is being continually conformed to the image of Jesus Christ through his obedient love for God and the infilling of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 2:5-8).

So what does spiritual fitness look like? How does the believer know if they have it?  Spiritual fitness is not a list of “do’s and don’ts” nor is it a specific set of behaviors one can practice.  From our earlier definition it is a condition of qualification or “readiness” for God’s purposes.  It is a state of being.  Based on that definition and the biblical examples provided in God’s Word, I have assembled some general principles for understanding spiritual fitness by using the acrostic “FIRST”.  Why first?  To be spiritually fit, you must put “first things first”.  Spiritual fitness is necessary in order to continue on the path of righteous living even when the world would have you follow another path.

F-Have Faith in the truth of the Bible.  “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).  Trusting the sufficiency of Scripture is critical for spiritual fitness.  God’s Word is the anchor on which the believer’s reality and meaning is derived.  Unlike postmodern followers, believers rely on the truth of God’s Word.  It is relevant for 21st century living.  

I-Take on the Identity of Christ  “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6).  We know we are being conformed to the image of Christ—He is our model for spiritual fitness.   Our identity with Christ causes believers to realign their thinking and behavior with His.

R– Develop a Relationship with the God of glory. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).   Being in God’s presence is where spiritual change can take place.  For spiritual fitness, the believer’s relationship with God must become a priority.

S-Walk as Sanctified people of God.  “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” (Col. 2:6) Believers choose a lifestyle of holiness controlled (filled) by the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual fitness includes the pursuit of God and continuous development of the believer’s faith (Heb. 12:14).  Christ will judge those claiming identification with Him but who are not actively engaged in holy living (Matt. 7:21–23).

TTrust in the finished work of the cross.  “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).  Spiritual fitness helps believers live as new creatures in Christ, even when it doesn’t “feel” right.  The believer who is spiritually fit understands there is nothing they can do to earn their salvation nor is there anything they can do to loss it.  They are confident that God will carry out His sanctifying purposes to the end.

Spiritual fitness is foundational to living well.  It is not a destination but intentional preparation for the journey God has prepared for each of us.  Need help?  Let the Holy Spirit be your personal trainer (Gal. 5:22-23).

SELAH:   Which of the “FAITH” principle(s) do you need to “exercise more” or “strengthen” in preparation to live out God’s purpose for your life?

You Know Better!

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,

bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV)

I was a very mischievous child and admit that every spanking I received was painstakingly earned.   But as I grew older, my mother transitioned me to a different technique for shaping my behavior.  I call it “verbal recounting”.  After recounting my infraction to me, she would retort, “you know better!” In her statement, she was reminding me of prior knowledge I had received and how I should have conducted myself.  Paul reminded believers in Corinth that they too were to “know better” as they responded to spiritual pressure from the “prince of the air” (Ep. 2:2).

In our text today Paul is dealing specifically with spiritual warfare.  The motif of the Christian life as warfare is a common one (Ep. 6:10-18; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 4:7).  Strongholds would be understandable to the Corinthians since Corinth had a fortress in which its residents could take refuge.  Arguments and high thoughts represented barriers and barricades men used against God and the Gospel to maintain their sinful lives and influence.

As believers in Christ, we must recognize that we are at war with Satan and our battlefield is our current sphere of influence.  Our chief enemy, Satan, comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10)—to kill human life and spirit by addiction, brokenness, and bondage; to steal the single-mindedness of family through infidelity, enmity between parents, and the redefinition of marriage.  He comes to destroy moral and social order by elevating individual selfishness, indulgent living, and greed.  Only “knowledge of God” (versus human tactics) can bring down and thoroughly demolish Satan’s kingdom.

To discount Satan’s activities in the 21st century is as fatal as walking down the middle of a busy highway blindfolded.  Satan’s strategy for defeating God’s beloved creature (Col. 3:12) is dependent on our disbelief in his reality.  While we must take responsibility for our personal sins, Satan is intent on minimizing his role in our sinful behavior.  He is determined to “stay under the radar” like a stealth bomber on a mission to search and destroy.

“Knowledge” signifies to understand completely.  By understanding completely who God is, His truth and His grace, Satan’s fortresses will fall.  It is in the knowledge of God, His power and His presence, that those trapped inside damning lies can be set free.   As believers we can move forward with great confidence knowing that He that is within us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  We dwell in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit (1 John 4:13).  We need never to feel defeated or distressed.  We can claim victory over Satan because we know better!

SELAH:  Is there an area of your life where Satan has established a spiritual stronghold—an area which stops you from walking in the fullness of God’s will and blessings?  Get in a quiet place with Jesus and ask Him what He wants you to “know” about Him that will set you free.  Find a Bible verse that reinforces what Jesus says to you.