Do you have a spiritual fitness program? Part 2
Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Bidwell#As_owner_of_the_Cardinals, football Cardinals that is. When we think of stinginess here in St. Lou, we remember Bill Bidwell.
Hello St. Louisans. We hope and pray that your Monday is enjoyable and that the rest of the week goes well for you.
Yesterday we began our series of articles on spiritual fitness. To begin with we identified a list of ten areas of spirituality that may be sources of weakness in our lives, and suggested a spiritual exercise chart we should create to help discipline ourselves. We did so to enable us to see how we are progressing spiritually with our spiritual fitness program, and discussed spiritual exercises one and two.
Summarized, spiritual fitness exercises one and two are, (1) practice loving God, and (2) refuse to practice anger at any time for any reason. Our reference for yesterday’s article came from our very own St. Louis Post Dispatch. (See Sports article, Time to Shine, St. Louis Post Dispatch Sports Section C, pages C1 and C8 about Missou QB James Franklin).
Before we get started on today’s teaching, let’s take a quick look at some of the practical benefits we get from loving God and ridding ourselves of all anger. When we practice loving God we are training our soul, (self), to promote love over all other emotions. By continuing to practice such it soon becomes a habit that will overflow into all other areas of our lives. When we practice loving God several times a day we are laying a spiritual fitness foundation that will become our strength to move on to rid ourselves of all spiritual weakness in our lives.
We often do not recognize anger as a spiritual weakness, but it is. We can’t even begin to address it as a weakness until we recognize how much harm it does to us. Anger is a thief. It robs us of peace. It robs us of happiness. It robs us of our freedom. It robs us of our health. It robs our mind of good thoughts and replaces them with painful thoughts that dominate all other positive emotions we might enjoy. To rid ourselves of anger we must refuse to allow it to have any place in us. When we feel it coming on we must stand our ground and say, “Oh no Mr. anger thief, in no way am I going to allow you to ruin my day. We chase anger away with our love of God. Where anger is, we replace it with God. No matter what our source of anger is, animate, or inanimate, we place God there and see Him there and give love to that evil as we have been instructed to do. We overcome evil with good.
Today we will examine stinginess in our lives, how it affects us, and what spiritual exercise to practice to overcome it. First of all we need to understand that being a stingy Christian has much more to do with than just money. We can be stingy with lots of things, and some have a far greater impact on those around us than hoarding our money does.
Stinginess is a heart problem. It goes deeper than what we are physically and effects how we relate to those around us. It grows out of how we see ourselves as a person. We are the single most important person we know, and feeding that belief becomes our primary objective. We once knew a person that had to have the largest chip out of a bag of potato chips before anyone else could get any. Such was only the tip of the iceberg for her. When she added her signature to correspondence going to a loved one, she signed it “love me.” She meant it too. Love was a one way street for her. You give it to me. She didn’t give it back. She was like a black hole to everything and everyone around her, trapping and sucking in life to feed her voracious appetite for self, never letting anything back out.
Stinginess comes from a hardened heart and is one of the greatest weaknesses we can have as a Christian. Such comes from a lack of understanding about Christ’s way of life for us. His way of life for us is opposite that of the world. A Christian finds his/her life when we lose it for others. Understanding that we find true freedom in the loss of our life is a great thing. It brings peace to us. We stop worrying about the cares of this life, and begin sewing for the life to come.
What we must understand is this, living a selfless life brings the life of the next life into us now, and makes us free from this world. So then, how do we rid ourselves of a hardened heart? We must practice giving in all ways that we can, a little at first until we develop a habit of giving and come to understand how good we feel and how free such makes us from the cares of this world. After our small beginning we can add as we find more within to give. Our objective in our practice of giving is to become tender hearted, and we will if we continue in our giving of ourselves in all ways.
End Part 2