The Race of Faith: Achieving Spiritual FITNESS in the Christian Life
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I'm also sorry that you had to see some of my not-so-great work lol. I usually try harder than that Mmmm, this is a good skit! It's funny, very convicting and motivating, well written, and a great analogy of the Christian race. I also like how the coach encouraged all of the racers instead of belitting them for their mistakes. My only suggestion; it could be a little shorter to make it easier to memorize lines and to keep the audience's attention. But that's just my thought. Great work! I look forward to reading more from you. God, help us all to run strong!
Side note: I wrote something similar to this--Jonah, Best of Bible Sports--about the life of Jonah viewed as a sports event from the viewpoint of two angels. Faithful Okoye. As I watched my father stretch his faith in moving from a prosperous pastorate to an unpredictable presidency at a struggling Christian college, I learned that faith is a life-changing truth.
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As my father stretched way beyond his comfort zone in obedience to God, things began to take shape. Reading the Bible is like exercise. Discipline yourself for godliness by making it a habit to read the Bible every day. If you want to make a new start in your spiritual fitness routine, consult your physician -- the Great Physician, Jesus Christ.
Ask God to help you practice daily spiritual disciplines that will increase your faith. Runners come to a point where they can hardly put one foot in front of another. But as they press on, their energy is replenished, and they finish the race with a great sense of accomplishment. Likewise, the road of dynamic Christian living requires perseverance. Unlike bodily exercise, the benefits of spiritual fitness last into eternity. For more information on Turning Point, visit www. According to the fourth way of praying, St. Dominic kneels and rises, and his soul is full of confidence in God's mercy on him, his brothers and sinners.
In these first four ways of praying, St. Dominic's body is on the ground. We come from the earth; it is the place of origins, the place of our limitations. The four corresponding dispositions — humility, compunction of heart, discipline, and trust — are spiritual dispositions that recognize our dependence and the primacy of God.
These first four ways of praying may be grouped around an attitude: acceptance, acceptance of the condition of creature before God, acceptance of God as creator and savior, acceptance of one's own limitations before him who is infinite. In the fifth way, the saint rises and stands, without leaning on anything, as a prophet or as Jesus himself.
His attitude is that of the resurrection, he is standing in his body and heart. His arms and hands manifest his listening to the Word. Gradually, he becomes silent to listen and to allow himself to be led by the One who speaks to him through the Scriptures. Then his arms open majestically in the sixth way, to embrace and imitate his Friend Who has given His life for him on the cross—a gesture of crucified-resurrected.
His gesture with his arms in the form of a cross means life given for Christ, and life received by the saint.
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In the seventh way, he continues the movement of his arms, stretching them determinedly to the heavens, with his hands either clasped or open, as if he were to receive something from Heaven. The tension of his whole being shows his desire to be with the One who is in Heaven and with us every day.
His body, just like his heart, witnesses to his prayer which is elevated, which rises like an arrow: He knows the One he addresses and he knows his prayer will be heard, as it corresponds to that of Christ: the promise to send us the Holy Spirit. It is the moment of the encounter with God in a face-to-face dialogue. These three ways of praying pivot on an attitude, that of an encounter with God, face to face, as with a friend. In the eighth way of praying , St.
Dominic is seated at a table, reading and listening to what the Lord says to him through His Word, and in the ninth and last way he is seen with a companion going off on a trip on the paths of the world to transmit what he has contemplated. In this way, St. These last two ways are ordered around a gift: the gift of God in His Word and in His life, the gift of God leads to giving and to giving of oneself. The nine ways of praying are divided therefore in three stages: acceptance, encounter, gift. They enable us to enter in his way of salvation to cure us of our devaluation of ourselves and to listen to what the Lord says to us: "I receive you as you are; you are My friend, now be fruitful and give fruit.
Below are some warning signs or reminder signs of some basic principles that should govern your exercises. There can be many mental and emotional barriers to getting in better shape. The most important aspect is not the specifics of an exercise program or the details of a diet though those are obviously important , but how you look at the situation.
I don't mean in the sense that your mind is more powerful than what you do in the gym, although you'll need to have some self-discipline and commitment for obvious reasons. The main problem is that most people look at fitness in a warped, incorrect way. That's why they flunk, and not because it has to be so hard in and of itself. What I mean is that you can't look at diet or exercise as a short-term ordeal that ends at some point when you aren't out of shape anymore.
They must be seen as long-term lifestyle changes. That sounds kind of scary, but is actually not a big deal when you think about it, and once you start seeing results you will be motivated to continue. The same can be said of spiritual exercise and a spiritual diet—there is no single exercise or particular book that is guaranteed to give impressive spiritual results.
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The key is your attitude of mind. With one or the other you will look ridiculous—not only in the eyes of Heaven, but also in the eyes of those around you here on earth. Most people look at their spiritual exercises and spiritual diet in a warped and incorrect way. They just want it on their lips, but not in their heart—they want to look the part, without actually being the part! Consider this: when people start dieting and exercise, they are often extremists about it. They try to work out 2 times a day, 7 days a week, or go on some crazy diet where they eat calories composed entirely of herbal tea and tree bark.
They hurt themselves or get sick or just hate life generally, and they fail.
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Then they get discouraged and get fat and out of shape again. The same is often true with spiritual resolutions—especially at times like Lent. The devil wants you to bite off more than you can reasonably chew, or he wants you not to bite at all—in others words, to do TOO MUCH penance, or to do NO penance at all.
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He will suffer a short-term change, if he can get you to go back to what you were soon after Lent is over, or when your resolutions break-down. Whichever way you look at it, he wins. These break-downs happen both in the physical arena—with exercise and diet; as well the spiritual arena—with spiritual exercises and diet.
Was that a failure of willpower? Sort of, but the main problem is that the whole approach is wrong. You don't get in shape by killing yourself. You get in shape, and more importantly stay in shape, by accumulating significant, but livable, improvements to your lifestyle over time, and building on that. Not by going through some horrible ordeal requiring Olympian willpower.
On the natural level, eating healthy just has to become how you eat most of the time. Exercise has to become a habitual thing you do every day or two , like mowing the lawn or taking out the trash. If you do just a little better all the time, but really stick to it, you can accumulate big gains very fast, and improve upon them over the long term. Once you start seeing improvements without having to kill yourself, it becomes very easy to keep on improving. The amount of time and effort you put into developing and maintaining your physical fitness is directly proportional to what you will get out of it and the magnitude of the results you will see.
If you follow this advice only some of the time, you will only get some of the results. In the end, the wrong thing done consistently often times nets more results than the right thing done sparingly. We know how the body works, we know what can be done, and we know how long it takes. Do not look for the easy-out, the miracle, or the fitness secret someone wants to sell you. You want results, not false promises - stick to a routine and diet and see it through. In other words, be persistent and be patient.
The same is true spiritually—sanctity is a work of a lifetime. Another thing to consider is that many people find it hard to get into the shape they want because they have bad habits, especially when it comes to diet. Some of these are obvious, but many of them are not. Education about diet and exercise is very spotty, and the media and even fitness magazines often report nonsense that just adds to the confusion. You need to be able to identify your bad habits in the first place, and not just stop them, but replace them with habits that are positive. Habits are hard to break, but the rewards for replacing bad habits with good ones are immense and long-lasting.