Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5).
Christians cannot afford to live compartmentalized lives. We have one life – and that is the life we have in Christ. That is why it is so important to care for our bodies, souls and spirits, and take a holistic approach to training and discipline that will help us win our race.
- God cares about our bodies. Diet and exercise are both crucial to fulfilling His purposes in our lives.
- We must also regularly deal with any soul issues that we face, such as unresolved hurt from the past or persistent negative emotions like pride, jealousy or anger.
- And, of course, we should each maintain a discipline of feeding our spirits by reading God’s Word, praying, worshipping and meeting with other believers.
If we neglect one of these areas, we compromise our race fitness, but if we take a “whole person” approach and realize that all aspects of our lives are interconnected, we begin to run the race of life in a way that is pleasing to God.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
On my morning run one day, I accidentally ran into a triathlon race. I could not get out of the race as I was overtaken by athletes from every side. Up until that moment, I thought I was running at a fast pace. It was only when I found myself in the middle of a pack of runners that I realized I was not running as fast or as smoothly as I thought. While in my own little world, I was doing great, but when I stepped into a bigger, faster, fitter world, I discovered that I had lots of room for improvement and development.
As Christians, it is crucial that we do not become lulled into a false sense of comfort, security or achievement. We must constantly ensure that we are pushing ahead, determined to lay hold of all Jesus has prepared for us. We must keep enlarging, placing ourselves in a world that is bigger than our own, so we can keep God’s perspective. We may think we are doing great, but let’s keep the Word as our mirror and measure to ensure we are always allowing ourselves to be transformed to the image of Jesus.
Jesus had an interesting encounter with three men in the book of Luke (9:57-62):
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Notice the word “first” keep repeating throughout the passage. Not one of these men said anything about not following Jesus; their issue was when to follow Him. These men exemplify delayed commitment, but following Jesus must come before every other responsibility. The challenge is to set our priorities first and not just follow Jesus when it is convenient. We cannot let our comfort, convenience or choices distract us from Jesus and His purpose.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me (1 Corinthians 13:11).
In today’s Scripture, Paul reminds us that maturity is the goal of the believer. Some things that were okay when we were baby Christians would be considered childish by the time we have walked with Jesus for a while.
We cannot expect to be spoon-fed our spiritual diet forever. We must take on our own study of the Scriptures, develop our own intimate relationship with God and allow the Holy Spirit to change us.
If we are going to be healthy, functional, mature believers, we must grow up, take responsibility for our lives, stop expecting everyone to do everything for us and start contributing to kingdom service.