Spiritual Training Cycle: Perspective (wk. 8/13)
Back and Biceps. Chest and Triceps. Legs and Neck. In the gym culture where my fitness journey started, these were commonly referred to as, “parts.” The idea was simple. Each day in the gym would focus on training specific muscle groups. The next day, we would rest the ones we trained the day before and turn our attention to a new group. To be honest, I’m not sure how “neck” found its way onto leg day but that’s just what it was. When I entered the world of endurance sports, my training changed. Muscle mass is like the enemy of endurance athletes. A quick glance at any of them will confirm my statement. When training for marathons or long-distance triathlons, the primary muscle in view is the heart. In 2013, CrossFit showed me something completely different. The program was defined as, “Constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.” In other words, this method of training is total body.
But the body is more than just the physical muscles we train. There’s a mental aspect to physical exercise. Athletes must work through the voices in their head often trying to hold them back. There’s also a gut component. You have to check yourself internally and reach deep into what cycling commentator Phil Liggett calls, “the suitcase of courage.” Physical exercise cannot be isolated to physical movements alone. That’s because human beings are both physical and spiritual. One of my professors referred to this as integrated complexity. You see, what we do in the gym ultimately affects every aspect of our life and in the same way our physical performance can go through peaks and valleys as we navigate the difficulties awaiting us outside the gym. That’s why your training must be total body.
Our spiritual training this month is focused on worship. Worship is the giving of our entire self, our thoughts, and our emotions, to God’s use. It’s a state of our heart. The word itself means, “the quality of being worthy.” When we worship, we are saying that God is worthy. He is worthy of our praise. Praise from both our bodies and our souls. The result, or effect, of worship is a renewal of the mind, transforming us more and more into the image of Christ. Worship is a total body exercise. Not in the sense of raising your hands when you sing, but rather shaping you as a complete human being.
Here’s the thing about worship. The closer you are in your relationship with God, the deeper the intimacy of your worship. One of the ways we grow closer to God is through His word. For many of us, that’s daily Bible reading. Others grow closer by memorizing and meditating on particular verses or passages. This is what Jesus points us to when he tells the Samaritan woman at the well that, “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). God’s truth is revealed in His word, so let His word become a part of your worship. Let it be total body.
Questions for Reflection:
How does physical exercise affect your soul?
How would you worship God in truth?