This quote from the founder of PrayFit® Ministries struck my spirit like a sword when I read it recently on a friend's Instagram feed:
"If I can be so bold, shame on us if we train and eat 'perfectly' this week, but never crack open our Bibles or hit our knees in prayer." —Jimmy Peña
Yes, it is a bold statement, but it's what many of us health-minded, Jesus-professing folks need to hear. What I believe to be key when we hear this, or any other convicting message, is not to let the sharpness of its words offend or scar us, but instead allow it to penetrate the dark, tender places of our hearts, the unspoken shadows where truth stings like salt in a wound. Our reaction to the pain—whether we address and treat it or ignore and forget it—will determine whether the darkness is excised, or given permission and more space to grow.
I have been guilty of letting days, even weeks, elapse without cracking open my Bible.
I have risen in the morning and gone to bed at night without so much as muttering a single word of thanks to my heavenly Father for giving me that day.
I have often devoted more time to physical training than spiritual training.
There have been many days when I've tasted and enjoyed more physical food than spiritual food.
And today that realization, that sword-in-the-gut feeling, inspires me to never let a single day pass without nourishing my soul with the God-breathed Bible and lifting my voice in prayer and praise to the one who's breathed life into all of us ... who removed the sting of death for all of us.
The devil doesn't want us to be fit in any way—not physically, not spiritually. He is a thief, a destroyer and a murderer, and will do everything he can to afflict us—from trying to bind us to poor eating and exercise habits to keeping us away from our Bibles.
The Lord, on the other hand, is our Rock, our Fortress, and our Deliverer, and loves us more than any human being ever could. He longs to commune with us, to give us life in abundance as we cling to Him like branches grasping a grapevine. When we are separated from Him, our Root, or when we proudly resist His pruning, we begin to weaken and wither. But if we hold on tightly, even when faced with strong winds and the Husbandman's precise, perfecting shears, we will thrive and bear fruit, continuously supplied with fresh strength and grace anew.
Taking time—any amount of time—out of your day to read the Scriptures and quiet yourself in prayer may at first feel like, well, work. Similar to eating nutritious foods and maintaining a consistent exercise schedule, spiritual disciplines will likely not be easy, or even enjoyable at the start. But I promise... the rewards are great! And what's more, the longer you stick with your commitment to seek God's face and drink in His truths and promises, the less it will seem like drudgery. In fact, it will become the highlight of your day and, ultimately, the source that sustains your life.
Below are 10 of my favorite verses on the topics of reading the Bible and spending time in prayer. I pray that after reading them you will feel inspired to enter into God's presence yourself and carve out a slice of time each day to let His Spirit wash over you and fill you with the love, mercy, grace and goodness that cannot be obtained apart from Him.
- "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV).
- "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12, NLT).
- "Blessed is the one ... whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season" (Psalm 1:1-3, NIV).
- "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16, ESV).
- "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105, ESV).
- "Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him" (1 Chronicles 16:11, NLT).
- "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged" (Luke 18:1, GNT).
- "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful" (Colossians 4:2, NIV).
- "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6, ASV).
- "The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth" (Psalm 145:18, NLT).
Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House's Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman's Guide to Total Fitness and her latest book, Perfect Fit: Weekly Wisdom and Workouts for Women of Faith and Fitness. Her popular website can be found at dianaandersontyler.com, and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana can be reached on Twitter.
For the original article, visit dianaandersontyler.com.
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