Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 1 Corinthians 9:24
I have spent most of my life serving in the military, as well as a short stint in the law enforcement field. Likewise, I have been an enthusiast of mixed martial arts for a majority of my adult life. This article will be focused towards tying in the physical with the spiritual.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder, a fighter or a marathon runner to take the time to improve your physical fitness. We also know that if we eat too much and don’t exercise we’ll become fat and weak. In self-defense typically one has to include some form of physical exertion. If you are training to defend yourself, keep in mind that you might have to fight just to access your firearm. The stronger you are, the more likely you are to prevail in a confrontation.
In the military most of the fight happens with a weapon. But if one is to get in to a physical altercation one has to use physical force in order to get to the weapon. The same is applied in law enforcement. In most cases that weapon is the fight ender. Our physical fitness program does not have to be intense; although it has to be followed. The same can be said for anyone who wants to get in a generally good shape. One has to get moving; Take a walk; Join a gym; Lift something. It will help keep you alive. The time to get started is always in the present. That’s just the physical reality of it.
But what about our spiritual reality? Have we adopted a church model that’s solely concerned with making sure we get spiritually fed, yet puts no priority on making sure we exercise our calling? If eating physical food without physical exercise makes us physically weak, will the same not happen in our spiritual lives as well?
Today’s “church” establishment with its adopted consumer-driven market mentality absolves the average church member from most responsibilities aside from attendance and tithing. Albeit, the example given to us in 1 Corinthians 14:26 differs from what we can observe in most mainstream “churches”. Primarily, during the gatherings, each member arrived with something to contribute: a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a testimony. Unfortunately, today’s church reminds me of a fast food joint. Members of the congregation do not contribute to the service, but come in to get refreshed by the word; walk away in a good mood if it fed their flesh, or grumble if it “insulted” them. Like customers walking through the serving line, holding their empty trays, they come expecting to get fed, then pay the cashier. Today’s consumer-driven church model needs attendance and tithes, not 1 Cor 14:26 participation. In the language of the military, they are “weekend warriors”. Not full time warriors for God.
We are at war. Whether you want to know this or not. Either you are a warrior or a casualty. Likewise, on the one hand you may be on the enemies’ side (active or passive) or on the other hand you are on Gods side. But we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. You have to develop your spiritual strength, but it takes action.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6: 13-18)
Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receive the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that strive for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Instruct one another. Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that we may be healed. Employ your spiritual gifts in serving one another. If you do not have, pray zealously to receive them.