This is one piece of advice a friend gave me when I asked her about preparing for running a race a while back. Counter intuitive? Yes. Feels a bit over-the-top? Perhaps. But it’s really good tip, because while I was training, when I crashed, I crashed hard. You would find me scrambling through my cabinets at 10:30 at night trying to figure out what I could apply peanut butter to (rice cakes circa summer of 2011? Perhaps) in order to satisfy my caloric cravings.
Fortunately, we live in a first world where we have the luxury to eat when we are not hungry.
We have lots of things at our disposal.
This advice got me to thinking, of course, how this might apply to our spiritual fitness. There so many verses in Scripture that refer to preparation, one of my favorites involves putting on the full armor of God, starting in Ephesians 6:10, and the phrase that sticks right out to me is: “…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” What is this gospel of peace? It’s that Jesus died, was buried and then resurrected in order for us to experience life eternal with him. Fully realizing that peace takes surrender, it takes laying down our own defenses of selfishness and self-pride and the many other strongholds that we have allowed to control our lives.
Our world, from our weather to our international relations, is in constant turmoil. Our earth is groaning. These are the birth pains of the church, too. The time is now to bring peace into this world through a relationship with the Prince of Peace.
AND he wants us to prepare our hearts and minds for his work. If you feel like you’re on the cusp on a completely different phase of your life, even if you’re not, get in the Word, devour it like you’re not even hungry and God will speak to you. I promise. Arm yourself. We’re not talking about guns and bombs right now, but we are talking about principalities and powers and our defense is being able to quote, verbatim, the word of God back to the lies that try to threaten our defenses. Lies that the world believes, like:
What you have is not enough.
Who you are is not enough.
The grass certainly looks greener on their side of that fence, doesn’t it?
I was going through an almost overwhelming trial back in the fall, and one of my good friends reminded me of this verse: Give thanks in all things (I Thess. 5:18) Really? In all things? Even the things that make me pound my fists into the kitchen floor and tell God that I hate him? Yes, everything–and somehow, God understands it when we do those things, because, believe or not, those trials bring us back to Him, back to His faithfulness, and again, back to his Word.
Wasting your time on other things? Don’t leave yourself unprepared. Know that Satan is working overtime to distract you from God’s best. Gird yourself with the truth, put on those shoes, and start training.
*photo by Creative Commons by daniellehelm