Does exercise fill you with fear and loathing, Richard asked us last Sunday. Well maybe we need a spiritual fitness class.

When Jesus was tempted he resisted. We too are constantly tempted, by things against our belief, or things that are just not good for us. We need to prepare.

But changing habits is difficult. It can be like a dance class – we may be trying to do good steps and putting in plenty of energy, or less energy and just watching and going through the motions. It is a good analogy for our Christian lives.

Think about dieting too. It’s all about what we put into our bodies. We need to feed our spiritual lives. Jesus’s experiences in the wilderness tell us much. He used the scriptures to knock back temptation. That didn’t happen by accident. It followed a lifetime of feeding on a diet of scripture. So, we need to:

  • Include God in all we do, influencing all our decisions, throughout the day. “Do it all for the glory of God.”
  • Minimise the impact of non-spiritual things, maybe cutting some out, even if they are tempting. “All things are possible, but not all beneficial.” It’s the same as a diet – we need to cut something out. There are many things we need to give up, and we do at baptism, but we also need to review and check if we’ve given up enough, or need to give up more. They may not, necessarily, be wrong things, but they may not help us towards the Kingdom either.

It’s not easy, but it is an ideal. We could all do a bit better. The bottom line is that we need to think more about what we are putting in our bodies, spiritually, to become better Christians. We need to exercise too, spiritually. Do we put in enough effort or just turn up and watch, or merely go through the steps without commitment. Putting the effort in is the key, regardless of whether you get the steps right. James 1:22-25 reminds us: Don’t merely listen, but do. And James 2:14-17 says because of faith we do good deeds, so we can’t have faith and not do good deeds. In Matt 22:36-40, Jesus shows how the commandments prove this.

We need more spiritual food, rather than junk food. And fitness ready for Christ’s return. And God has given us what we need to achieve that. We have a spiritual gym, here at our church, and can exercise where and when we want, and take spiritual food from the Bible every day. We do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God.

And one more thing, and it’s the biggest problem for dieters – keeping it going. Sustaining it all is difficult, not returning to our old ways. We need to keep going or end up back where we started. We need to keep eating the right spiritual food and committing ourselves to God.

Finally, the Bread and Wine, unlike other health foods, can overcome all the previous week’s Junk Food – feeding us spiritually and covering over all our prior obstacles, errors and omissions.