I have always been a big fan of collegiate sports and admire the preparation and dedication of each player to be able to compete at this high level. As I watch this year’s tournament unfold, one thing is certain; these players did not just decide to play basketball in March. They have been training for this opportunity all year long.
Here lies an example for Christians to embrace. The prize is not won without dedication and daily effort. While we may not be running up and down a court, the Bible does tell us the Christian life is a race. Paul said, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24). “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
The NCAA championship is not won by being out of shape and unprepared. Likewise, a Christian will never get to Heaven being spiritual weak. Paul instructed Timothy to exercise himself unto godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). Are you in shape?
Let me suggest the following daily exercise regimen. If followed daily it will increase your spiritual strength and endurance. Also, these exercises are great for the heart (Proverbs 23:7, 4:23).
- Walk Every Day - “Walk worthy of the calling which you were called” (Eph. 4:1). “Walk in love” (Eph 5:1, Rom 6:4). ”For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). “Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
- Upward Presses - “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12,14).
- Knee Bends - “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). “Men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1)
- Various Lifts – “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up” (Acts 3:7). “He took him by the right hand and lifted him up” (Acts 3:7). “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). “Lifting up holy hands” (1 Timothy 2:8). “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).
- Incline Exercises – “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel” (Joshua 24:23). “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever” (Psalm 119:112).
- Healthy Diet – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; c.f. Acts 17:11).
- Proper Hydration – “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
- Meditation – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
- Josh Allen (Pikeville, KY)