Are we working out?

Hey Gratis Family,

Two weeks ago my wife Teresa and I went to Liberty University because Teresa had to take an intensive for her masters degree in counseling. While at Liberty I wanted to go rock climbing at the new rock-climbing wall because for one, it was three times bigger then the old wall and two, because I loved rock climbing while I was a student at Liberty. On Monday afternoon I finally got the chance to go climbing, but within a few minutes I realized a major problem. My hands were weak and sore, my forearms were throbbing, my shoulders and abs were like Jell-O, and the easy routes I could do with one arm while I was in my prime of rock climbing were very difficult for me to even do one move on. Then it dawned on me it had been over a year since the last time I’ve climbed and not to mention, 15 pounds heavier. All of the core muscles I used for rock climbing had become weak because I had not worked on them like I was when I was climbing almost every day. The bottom line is, I was out of shape for rock climbing.

This experience had me thinking about our spiritual walk with the Lord. If we are not working on our spiritual core as believers, we are not growing or maturing in our faith. In a sense, our spiritual muscles are not being used so they become weak and feeble. Therefore, if we want to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ we must be working daily on our spiritual core. To work on our spiritual core we first must know what our spiritual core is. According to Jesus our spiritual core is our heart, soul, and mind. Matthew wrote: “But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And He said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:34-40 NASB). So many times we over complicate what Jesus really wants from us but the truth is He wants us to Love God and Love People (LGLP).

He wants us to love Him with all our heart. Our heart is the seed of our passion; we do what we are passionate about. The problem is many times we are more passionate about hunting, fishing, NASCAR, beer, football teams, golf, video games, Facebook statuses, tweets and Netflix than we are about Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. Therefore, we must work on getting our priorities in order when it comes to the heart of loving God. He wants us to love Him with all of our soul. Our soul has been damaged because of sin and needs to be worked on daily. Sin separates us from the amazing presence of the Lord. Therefore, we have to call sin what it is, sin. We must stop beating around the bush and brushing it under the rug and start being honest with ourselves and with God. To love Him with all our soul, we must repent of our sin to God and maybe even to someone else to begin the healing process. He wants us to love Him with all our mind. Loving Him with our entire mind means taking every thought captive and making sure our thoughts are filled with Godly things. The mind is the funnel to the rest of the body. In other words, the mind feeds the soul and heart. What we put into the mind is what is going to come out of us in our character and in our daily lives. We must replace unrighteous thoughts with righteous thoughts.

I want to end by finishing my story about my rock climbing experience at Liberty. Every day I went back to the rock wall and climbed. It was not painless but it was rewarding. By Friday afternoon, I was able to climb 12 routes in 1 hour. My muscles were sore and my fingertips were bleeding but I accomplished my goal to climb all 12 routes in the beginner category. To go from barely being able to do one move on a route to 12 full routes is a big deal. Spiritually speaking, the same can be true when it comes to working on our spiritual core. It is not always painless but it is always rewarding in the end. According to the Apostle Peter “He (Christ) has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3 NASB). Therefore, we have been given everything we need to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. The question we need to ask ourselves is do we truly love God and love people? If we do, then we will daily be working on our spiritual core.

In Christ alone,

            Joseph Brown