By: Perry Benson

Hebrews 12:1-1

… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…

What would it feel like if we took our spiritual fitness as seriously as athletes take their physical fitness? During a past vacation, I let my prayer life lapse. I felt positive social connections and constructive activities would keep my mental attitude stable. So, the days passed by without prayer. By the time I returned home, my spiritual muscles were flabby, not up to the challenges of everyday life. “Stable” is only as good as the circumstances surrounding it; certainly not good enough for someone running the Christian race.

Scientists have observed that when someone is trying to make a decision, electrical signals course through the entire brain. As they pass from one neuron to the next, they actually change the cells in their path - the brain rewires itself. The next time a similar decision has to be made, it requires less mental effort to arrive at the same decision because the path has already been smoothed.

This goes a long way in explaining the power of habit, and even answers some of our questions about good and evil in the world. If a man is deciding to do evil for the hundredth time, he does it almost without thinking. But the same is true of the saint deciding to do good. Our longest journey begins with just one step, and we can be confident that each step along the way will be easier than similar steps that preceded it. That’s just how we’re made.

Since our circumstances are always changing, “stable” is not the spiritual attitude we should be shooting for. For me, spiritual fitness depends on remaining grounded (in prayer), focused (on my calling), open (to all I encounter), and in love with my Redeemer.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: What are the essential elements in my spiritual fitness? Am I utilizing them?