Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Wow, change can be hard. What happened to my beginning-of-the-year resolve to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day? A quarter of 2012 is nearly spent, and I’m still struggling to develop that habit. Like spiritual disciplines, physical ones take practice. Perhaps I need to practice what I preach and include the water-drinking habit on my daily To Do list. Change can be hard, but not impossible. What’s your choice of habit to practice?


Physical and Spiritual Fitness

Habits, both good and bad, sometimes take a lifetime to develop. We learn to brush our teeth during early childhood. We develop our eating habits early on, too. And though we learn bad habits, it’s never too late to undo them and replace them with the good. Some bad habits become addictions and require more than willpower to undo. However, most can be changed, even when it seems to take another lifetime. Whether trying to undo the bad or add the good, it’s rarely easy and always requires effort.

The first step is to earnestly desire the change. Next, it’s good to list our bad habits and the good ones we’d like to learn. From that list we can regularly evaluate our successes and failures. When I do this, I learn that I succeed in one or two and fail in the rest. Guess I haven’t learned to try for one at a time. Perhaps that’s the most important step.

A church parish nurse once suggested some habits to focus on. At the bottom of her list, she wrote, “Pick just one of the things listed and begin to incorporate it into your daily health habits. After you have incorporated that one thing, move on to another and you will be surprised at how much better you will feel.”

Here’s her list of physical habits we can develop or drop:

Get more exercise. Eat less junk food. Drink more water. Reduce alcohol consumption. Don’t smoke. Be safe. Get eight hours of sleep each night.

Here’s the list of spiritual habits she suggests:

Read your Bible daily. Pray every day. Forgive others. 

Her last suggestion, melding the physical with the spiritual, is to respect your body. It is the temple of God.

Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “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.”

Paul also wrote about keeping in good shape, like a soldier, so we can better accomplish God’s will in our lives. If we strive to take good care of both body and spirit, we will be better equipped to serve God and will glorify Him in the process.

Thank You, Lord, for promising to help us develop good physical and spiritual habits and to overcome the bad ones that have hindered our relationship with You. We place ourselves in Your loving, capable hands for success. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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