Yesterday, Jason and I decided to go cut some firewood. We are WAY behind on gathering wood for this winter. Jason was off work. The day was nice. All the makings for a good day. Right? One problem -- my body forgot how much pain was involved.
You see, it's been a while since we've done this kind of work. Sure, we hike a lot, and I do my daily exercises (sometimes), but yesterday I used muscles I didn't know I had. I hurt in places I can't even reach. My right arm is practically useless because every time I try to use it, it protests. . . LOUDLY! I thought I was in pretty good shape, but yesterday's activities reminded me that different tasks require different muscles. Therefore, if I want to keep them all in shape, I have to constantly use them to perform various activities. All the hiking in the world could not have prepared me for hauling and tossing firewood. (It didn't even prepare me for all the squatting and bending.) So, today, I'm hobbling around like a little old lady. Why? Because I didn't keep exercising my muscles.
You know, we can run into the same problems in our spiritual life. We can forget to "exercise our spiritual muscles," leaving us in a bad position when the battle comes. Satan attacks us from out of the blue, and we're not prepared because we've not been practicing. We've not been getting our spiritual exercise. Are we likely to win the battle? Probably not.
Just as physical exercise is important, so is spiritual exercise. By "spiritual exercise," I mean the practices and activities that keep our spirit in shape. Things such as prayer, Bible reading, spending time alone with God, spending time with other believers, and witnessing, all fall into that category. When we don't do these things, our spirits get out of shape and our defenses grow weak. We find ourselves hobbling through the battle instead of lifting our swords to fight.
Let's make it our goal to get both our physical and spiritual exercise every day. I know of many people who often combine the two. Go for our walk and pour out your heart to God. Listen to the Bible on CD or MP3 while you walk on the treadmill. Let's find a way to fit both types of exercise into our daily schedules lest we end up with sore muscles and lost battles.