Fitness – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-34

Happy New Year! As we begin 2019, we will begin a series called “New Year, New You.” Our theme verse is Revelation 21:5 – “…behold, I make all things new.” Many people make new year’s resolutions at the start of a new year, but did you know that only about 14% actually keep them? That’s why I’m not talking about a new resolution or turning over a new leaf. I’m talking about a new life. Every day God gives us is a gift. We have only one shot at life and we want to make it count. For the next few weeks, we are going to focus on the major areas of life so that we can start 2019 on the right path with a winning plan. Today we’ll talk about fitness. It is not just about losing weight or going to the gym. We need a holistic approach. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says,“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

Spiritual Fitness (“spirit”)

To start the new year off right, the greatest change needed is not external but internal. If God does not change you, there is no power to maintain it. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” Start with spiritual growth. It will be the best year of your life if it is the best year of your life spiritually. God has a plan and purpose for our lives (Jer. 29:11). He has a plan for your life this year and for this day. We should start every day close to Him. Talk to God daily. Spend time in His Word. God wants to have a Word with you! We need God’s supernatural favor, grace and power on our lives. We need God to open doors for our future. We need His guidance and protection from Satan, other people, and ourselves. God can do more in a moment of prayer than we can do in a lifetime. If your body or emotions call the shots for you, life is a mess. Only when the Spirit calls the shots does your life become fulfilling.

Emotional Fitness (“soul”)

Notice the order of 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body….”As your spiritual life goes, so goes the rest of your life.  God wants to bring peace to your chaos! The soul is your mind, will, and emotions. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” There are things we need to be careful to guard against – negativity, peer pressure, a bad attitude, ingratitude, entitlement, comparison, discontentment, skepticism, criticism, cynicism, unforgiveness and a root of bitterness. Stop aiming at and dwelling on the wrong thing. Repent, turn around, and aim at the right things! Psalm 42:11 says, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” That is the answer. Hope in God!

Physical Fitness (“body”)

Your entire life is connected. You can’t compartmentalize your life. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We should treat it that way. Paul urges us, “…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Rom. 12:1). We are to live fully for God. How we present our whole lives, spirit, soul, and body is an act of worship. The world worships the body. Christians worship God with our body. Earlier in 1 Corinthians 6 Paul references sexual immorality and food when it comes to our body (v. 12-13, 18). Stop anything that masters you. We should remove anything that hinders us from being all God wants us to be (Heb. 12:1). Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Have self-control, be under the Spirit’s control, and have self-discipline. Your body matters to God. Your body does not exist for you, but for Him.

As you start 2019, do something! Feeling guilty about areas of sin in your life will not change anything.  Take action. Stop talking about yesterday and tomorrow. Deal with today. Take steps today to work on your spiritual, emotional, and physical fitness.

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