Are you a modern day Monk or Nun?
Keeping spiritually strong can be hard work!
In the Middle Ages, young people all over Europe left their normal lives to join a monastery. Monks and Nuns would rise early in the morning to engage in all kinds of spiritual disciplines and exercises. This all sounds pretty weird to us today. Yet, if you happen to have to get up early one morning and you look around your neighborhood you will find lots of people running and jogging and exercising.
They will be sweating, struggling and pushing past the pain barrier. Go to the gym, and you will find people exerting, groaning, pulling and straining, all the while paying for the privilege. Go to a beauty salon, and you will find women (and some men) being preened, plucked, buffed, tanned and waxed. You might even fit into one of these categories. Maybe nothing much has changed since the Middle Ages: we still get up early and commit ourselves to improvement.
The only difference is that the monks and nuns were attempting to change their internal spiritual lives, while today we believe in conversion and salvation through changing our external physical lives.
1 Timothy 4:8 says something in light of this.
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
We live in a world that laughs at godliness and the idea of a “life to come”. And our world is obsessed with youth and beauty, so it is easy to see why Christians can get sucked in to spending more time and energy developing external beauty rather than internal beauty.
Personally, I am a bit of a jogging, gyming kind of guy. I actually really like keeping fit. So I need to keep reminding myself that this world is not all there is. There is a life to come. And training in godliness will be more valuable for me than physical training, in this life and the life to come. I need to ask God to help me worry more about my faithfulness than my fitness, my love more than my looks, my patience more than my PB’s, my self-control rather than my stamina.
How about you?