Study with Sara-Do you have Spiritual Flabbiness?

“Training your body helps you an some ways but serving God helps you in every way by bringing you blessings in this life and in the future life, too.” I Timothy 4:8 (NCV)

The Apostle Paul was writing a letter to Timothy, a young fellow associate and church leader giving him instructions and encouragement in dealing with church doctrinal errors as well as practical problems in the church at Ephesus.

Eugene Peterson’s interpretation ‘Message’ on 1 Timothy 4: 6 -10 writes, “You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.”

This is a pass it on type of thing. Have you ever played the game pass it on? Someone whispers to you and then you whisper to another and around and around the supposedly same sentence has been given but the hearers have not heard the same message. By the time each one repeats what they heard no one can distinguish the message. I feel this way many times with the writings of Paul as taught by some church leaders. Timothy must have felt this way also.

As we can see Paul did not say, don’t exercise the body, don’t exercise the mind, don’t exercise the spirit. I have heard some doctrinal makers say Paul also said don;t wear jewelry, don’t cut your hair, don’t dress in a business suit as Americans do and certainly women, don’t wear makeup. Some would make me think Paul was a don’t man. But, in fact the Apostle Paul was a Do man. Just remember to do it all in moderation except the serving God part and that part you DO in what one might think excess.

Paul has informed us that if we go to the gym of ‘spiritual exercise’ by serving God like a good trainer disciplines their body that the benefits will show now and will benefit us greatly in the future life to come. What kind of benefits will we have? Will the benefits be worth the excessive training, disciplining and order one has to have to train their body, their mind and now their soul?

Maybe if we are having trouble with the gym we should try watching the movie “Evan Almighty.”


8 thoughts on “Study with Sara-Do you have Spiritual Flabbiness?”

  1. One thought I had on this blog. Sara you said “Paul was a Do man.” And exercise is a ‘do’ thing. One definition of exercise is: regular or repeated use of a faculty or bodily organ; something performed or practiced in order to develop, improve, or display a specific capability or skill. In order for one to increase their performance and benefit level as related to bodily excercise or training I understand that one must
    ‘add to’…like do 10 sit-ups this week and add 5 more next week. II Peter 1:5-11 tells us to ‘add to’ also in order to experience increased spiritual performance and ability. “…giving all diligence (now that’s a stick-to-it exercise word) add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And the benefit of this ‘add to’ exercise program is …”if you do these things you will never stumble for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  2. The book of James admonishes, “faith without works is dead.” To me that’s like saying, Faith without “DO” is dead. James goes on to say, “…show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith BY my works.”
    And we could also say, faith without WORK, discipline, diligence and application is also dead, or barely surviving; without zeal, without sacrifice, WITHOUT WORKING out our salvation with fear and trembling. James says it is DEAD! Now there are dead WORKS, also, but those are the ones that are done without faith, in vanity and in the flesh without the SPIRIT of the living God directing.
    So James sums it up with…”For as the body without the spirit is dead…so faith without works is dead, also.”
    And WORKS without faith is also dead. We must have the WORK and the FAITH and then the Kingdom will come.

  3. Having exercised off and on most of my life, I have found that many of my failing in regards to exercise is not feeling like doing it. Once I had given into feelings, I would find that I gave up, my initial diligence was out the window. After months of no exercise I found it was harder and harder to get motivated – luke warm. In order to succeed, I have found that I have to push feelings aside and say I’m doing it even if I don’t feel like it. As with the physical so it is with the spiritual. It doesn’t matter whether you feel like doing something for the Lord or not, just get up and do it. If you put off what you know to do then you’ll be lukewarm which according to scripture God says Rev. 3: 14 You are neither cold not hot. … So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. So don’t lay on the sofa, get up. You will be strengthened spiritually by God in the doing. In Isaiah 40: 28 – 31 it says “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
    What an awesome promise – so don’t wait to feel it, put your hope in Jesus, flex your spiritual muscles and just do what God has given you to do this day and you will soar on the wings of eagles, run and not grow weary.

  4. “that the benefits will show NOW and will benefit us greatly in the FUTURE life to come”……..

    Psalm 37:16-19 “It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.”

    1Corinthians 2:9 “That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him’.”

    Throughout God’s Word we can sure see the benefits that exist. That is, if we will continue to do our parts, to prevent “spiritual flabbiness.”

  5. Training the spirit seemly is being more like God each day according to Psalm 37. This is a major exercise program.

    If I were to place side by side by physical training program and my devotion to it with my spiritual training program and my devotion to it, I would be afraid of the results.

    Is there a measuring rod for this training?

  6. Exercise cleanses our bodies. In helps us to feel great, gives us more energy, and turns unwanted fat into muscle. Exercise decrease the risk of heart disease, high blood preasure, diabeties, depression, and cancer. Not only should we exercise our bodies and mind, we should exercise our faith. The old saying “if you don’t use it you lose it”, is very true. I was reading in Philippians 4 in the foot notes of the NLT. TRAINING FOR THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. “As a great amount of traing is needed for athletic activities, so we must train diligently for the Christian life. Such training takes time, dedication, energy, continued practice, and vision. We must all commit ourselves to the Christian life, but we must first know the rules as prescribed in God’s Word(2 Timothy 2:5)” Reference 1Cor.9:24-27 “Goals: We train ourselves to run the race of life. So we keep our eyes on Christ-the goal- and don’t get sidetracked or slow down. When we do this we win a reward in Christ’s Kingdom.” Reference Phil 3:13,14 ” Goals: Living the Christian life demands all our energies. We can forget the past and strain to reach the goal because we know Christ promises eternity with him at the race’s end.” Reference 1Tim. 4:7-10 “Goal: Just as we exercise to keep physically fit, we must also train ourselves to be spiritually fit. As our faith develops, we become better Christians, living in accordance with God’s will. Such a life will attract others to Christ and pay dividends in both this life and the next.” Reference 2Tim. 4:7,8 “Goal: The Christian life is a fight against evil forces from without and temptation from within. If we stay true to God through it all, he promises an end, a rest, and a crown. “TRAINING: 1.Go into strict training in order to get the prize. 2. Focus all your energies towards winning the race. 3. Training for godliness will help you grow in your faith and character. 4. Fighting the good fight and persevering to the end.” So let’s get ready for the big race. Let’s start training our bodies, mind and spirit until we cross the big finish line and recieve our crown. Keep Focused and Stay Fit!!!!

  7. ‘Is there a measuring rod for this training?’ Sara asks above. When I began to think of it in terms as chickenfarmer wrote above I thought of a stopwatch. ‘Get ready for the big race’, chickenfarmer exhorted us above! I don’t think a walk or jog around my block three times a week will provide the necessary preparation for that kind of challenge. And when I put it in a spiritual perspective and thought about train for a big race versus train for a walk around the block, I realized that the qualifying requirements for even entering the race, let alone finishing it respectfully are very great indeed and need to be seriously considered. Living a life that Ephesians 4:13 speaks of makes me think I will need to find a very long measuring rod. “…till we come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to a measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” When I think of it in this light, I hesitate to ‘clock my time.’ Spiritual flabbiness can slow us down so much that we may not even qualify to enter this big race. Hebrews 12:1 tells us we better “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race set before us…”. An overweight jockey can add so many critical seconds to the stop watch that a ‘favorite’ horse will finish way behind the winner. And if a jockey shows up to the ‘weight room’ for the race with too much weight on him or her, his horse is not even permitted to race. So we cannot carry the sin and weights of disobedience or ungodly character with us for such ‘spiritual flabbiness’ won’t even qualify us for the big race.

  8. In meditating on the concept of “spiritual flabbiness, my MIND went on to consider that ol’ nemesis of many, flabbiness of the body, (as many bloggers above have mentioned)….physical exercise and the whole gamut concerning that. But also, when that flabbiness creeps up on us, unawares, those extra pounds around the waistline and the hips or arms, etc. many of us attempt to rectify this problem by watching our intake of food and trying to “cut down” so to speak. We try to “cut out” empty calories, extra sweets, larger portions, midnight snacks in an attempt to help reduce those extra inches of flab that have somehow developed “overnight” much to our chagrin.
    And just as it is important to “EXERCISE” our spirits, so is it also important to DIET…to limit our intake of what the world is offering at any given time, that deters us from our Spiritual exercises and adds to our SPIRITUAL FLABBINESS.
    In Ephesians 4:14, Paul admonishes against being enticed and tricked by the world. He gives a good regime for those who would shun spiritual flabbiness and would invest in a healthy spiritual diet……”For because of HIM the whole Body of Christ in all its various parts, closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied when each part with POWER adapted to its need is WORKING properly in all its functions and grows to full maturity…’body-building’ itself up in LOVE.”
    That’s a good BODY-OF-CHRIST BUILDING regiment to ward off flabbiness of the BODY OF CHRIST.
    Then Paul goes on to say ….”no longer live as the heathen do, in perverseness, in folly, chasing after vain things and becoming futile in the mind…becoming spiritually apathetic.
    If we allow our bodies to VEG out we become flabby, weak and ineffective. If we allow spiritual flabbiness we could very easily become selfish, ill tempered, impatient, divisive, envious…
    But FAST from those practices and instead, indulge in a steady diet of (Gal. 5:22) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self restraint. Then, Paul says, you will have SPIRITUAL FITNESS and banish that flabbiness, for good.

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