Fit For Life Part 2
By Mary Southerland
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV).
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Jesus modeled the truth that it is in Sabbath moments where we will find Him most precious and hear His voice more clearly. After all, He was in charge of the creation process that included the need for rest. Did God need to rest? Obviously not, but by creating a day of rest, He drove home the fact that our bodies were created in such a way that rest is not an option. Make no mistake – we will rest – one way or another. The psalmist writes, “He makes me rest in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2, ICB). Learning to rest demands an understanding of several basic truths.
Rest is sacred. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is sleep. The human body is programmed for a certain amount of rest. We can cheat it short term – but not long term. Rest affects the efficiency rating of this frail body in which we dwell.
Rest is replenishing. While we rest, the Father repairs and restores. We run on “batteries” that must be recharged daily. When I am tired, it is much harder for me to handle stress, and I know you will agree with me when I say that life can be stressful.
Rest reduces stress. Doctors say stress can be good or bad, but either way, stress takes its toll. Elijah is a great example of good stress gone bad. One day he was the conquering hero. The next day we find him sitting under a juniper tree begging God to let him die! The poor man was exhausted. It was stress produced by victory, but stress nonetheless.
Rest eliminates fatigue. Fatigue is not a spiritual gift, but we proudly wear dark-circled eyes as badges of honor and sacrificial service. The enemy loves it! If he can keep us exhausted, we are no threat to him. We must learn how to rest and when we need to rest. I have discovered an irritating truth with no escape clause – we need to rest most when we have the least amount of time to rest. I don’t like it when God calls me from my vicious circle of daily life into His presence. After all, I spent a lot of time getting all of those irons into the fire. I planned and carefully built that fire with great passion in order to have a successful ministry. But every time I obey His call to “come apart,” He transforms meaningless activity into powerful living. We need to stop, be still, and rest.
Our bodies house the Holy Spirit. In what condition is your dwelling place for God? Is He pleased with His temple? A lack of physical discipline is a foothold for the enemy, an unlocked door through which disobedience and failure ride on the wings of Satan’s best schemes. It is time for us to embrace and apply physical discipline as a gift and commandment from God. We must trust God with our health and get fit for life.
Mary Southerland is an author, international speaker, Founder of Journey Ministry, and Co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Her books include Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name.
Mary’s heart passion is to help women discover and live out their God-shaped identity and purpose in life. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!