A number of years ago I was quite unfit and was challenged by my brother to take up jogging. He gave me a year to beat him in a race and this was enough to get me going as I am quite competitive by nature.
I went out and purchased some good running shoes, shorts, socks and shirts and started my journey to victory over my brother.
My first run was very short and I had to stop several times as I was totally out of breath. I persevered and went out every day until it started to feel better and so I increased the distance and effort. Some days I felt quite heavy and found it hard but kept going because I knew It was good for me. Other days, I felt really good. I had a few minor injuries and had to run through the pain.
After about 11 months, I managed to beat my brother twice in different races over 4 miles and 10 miles and so the challenge was complete. I carried on though because now I enjoyed being fit and trying to break my best times. I even completed a marathon of 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 48 minutes!
Every top athlete will tell you that even with a natural gift, hard work and planned exercise is necessary to win medals at the Olympics.
It is much the same spiritually. Paul says
For bodily exercise profits for a little while : but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8
So spiritual exercise in prayer, meditating on the scriptures, attending church for worship and teaching, fasting and other spiritual exercise has a lot of gain. I have spent many years getting fit spiritually speaking and can honestly recommend it.
If you have found yourself 'out of puff' spiritually in recent weeks, then I recommend you begin some gentle spiritual exercises with the right gear (bible, prayer closet, church meetings).
It often helps if you exercise with a friend. I used to run with my brother a lot and had many times of great fun. Spiritual things can be great fun too, so maybe try and find someone to “run” this race with you?
Pastor Tony Hickman