The Spiritual Gymnasium: Training to Fit

There is a spiritual gymnasium and just like physical fitness is necessary, engaging in Spiritual Exercises is a sure way to grow spiritually. A gymnasium is a place if discipline, consistency and focus amongst many other beautiful qualities. It takes much of a mental preparation to be able to fit in properly with these realities of a gymnasium  and it usually isn't a child's play especially for first timers.

The gymnasium's hard work, discipline and determination is necessary to achieve growth and greatness. In 1st Timothy 4:7, Timothy was admonished by Paul to spend time and energy in training himself to be spiritually fit. At the time,  Timothy was a pastor of the church in Ephesus, a kind of busy, rich and sensual place to be for a believer. Paul understood that it was not going to be easy and so he used the advised Timothy that in becoming like Christ, it is required to engage in daily spiritual work out sessions. 

Two basic words sit in well as key points in Paul's instruction. These are "Training" and "Yourself". Training on one hand calls for repetitive exercises so that our minds as believers and its related, appropriate muscle groups will work together reflexively and automatically.  This combines endurance and skill just like physical exercises,  thus turning random game winning abilities and strengths into winning habits. On the other hand, "Yourself" emphasises the fact that no one else apart from you can do it for you. The fitness and exercising is meant to be done by you alone.  The best that could happen is that an instructor within the family  can come in  place which could be your pastor, spiritual mentor, or another believer in this case. In any case,  every gymnasium has an instructor,  whether human or robot to aid workout sessions. 

Paul's advice to Timothy was also central to the subject of godliness. As against what people think, godliness is a way of life that is not defined by mere outward worship nor a mere concept of God. It is not self deprivation or a random virtue either. True godliness is born out of faith covers the everyday conduct of a believer in honouring God as creator and redeemer. 

Becoming like God does not mean that we should strive to be perfect. If that is what you think it is, you will find yourself engaging in spiritual discipline like push-ups and sit-ups and other merely religious exercises to beat your bodies and mind into submission. This is mere religion.  If you just want to have control over your lusts and become more serene, any meditative religion will do.  However, what sets Christianity aside as a relationship with God other than a religion is the fact that knowing and becoming like Christ is our goal: not just moral perfection (although you will grow in character) or tranquility (although there will be peace of mind and order).

Training ourselves to become like Christ is a long but gradual process to becoming fit. It entails living life just as He lived it and allowing the Holy Spirit to shape you by His disciplines from inside out. That way, we will become more like Him and this is the exact reason why believers must spend time each day in the gymnasium of the soul. 

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