Dear Beachside Family and Friends,
January is heralded in with celebrations far and wide. Crowds fill Times Square in New York and Pier Park in my hometown of Panama City Beach to watch balls slither down poles to arrive at their respective destinations at 12:00:01 am January 1st. Music is played, toasts are made, and kisses are exchanged in order to welcome in the New Year. The revelry continues throughout the night until the celebrants creep wearily into bed to recover from the effects of the party.
On waking the next morning with or without headaches, each person is faced with the same question: what will I do to make the New Year better than the one that just passed away? Not wanting to do the same thing over and over again with the insane expectation of different results, ideas awake in the minds of many. I'll make some resolutions they declare. I'll change my life! Resolving to do things differently, resolute individuals vow to be kinder, stop stressing, and treat others and themselves with more respect. Amongst all these resolutions, the most commonly shared is the determination to get fit.
The first month of every year shows large increases in the sale of fitness equipment. Surges in fitness center memberships and diet plan commitments promise the fit lifestyle of the future. Millions are spent in the pursuit of taut, toned bodies, and untold numbers of shakes and energy bars are consumed, all in the quest to make this year's body better than last year's.
It's important to take care of our bodies, exercising and feeding them properly, but there can be a downside. Some drive themselves so much that exercise and diet consume all of their time and energy. Fitness has become their God. God certainly desires for us to treat ourselves well and stay healthy, but His fitness priorities are different. Paul understood this, for he wrote "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. (1 Timothy 4:8-9) While not denying the benefits of working out, the wise apostle declared the most important training to be spiritual, not physical. It is possible to be physically fit and not spiritually fit, and the Bible clearly declares which type of fitness is most important.
"Now in a great house there are not only articles of gold and silver, but also others of wood and of earthenware; and some are for specially honourable, and others for common use. If therefore a man keeps himself clear of these latter, he himself will be for specially honourable use, consecrated, FIT for the Master's service, and fully equipped for every good work (2Tim 2:20-21)
Resolving to become physically fit in 2018 is a worthy goal, but pales in comparison to becoming FIT FOR THE MASTER'S SERVICE! Spiritual fitness assures us that we can be used by God, and being used by Him is the greatest pleasure this side of heaven!
Let's make a fitness resolution together. Read this out loud: "Father, I resolve to become spiritually fit in 2018 so that I can be used by You and be fully equipped to do Your work" Working out in the Word every day will grow your faith (Rom 10:17), and since faith pleases God (Heb 11:6), we will be used and blessed by Him. That's a fitness challenge worth accepting. HAPPY NEW YEAR!