I just finished reading this book, and I must say… it’s encouraged and inspired me in the area of physical wellness more than anything has in quite awhile. God provided this in such a timely manner. I battle, especially in the dreariness of winter months. These words have shined God’s light straight to the heart of the matter with His truth. I’m very thankful for Gary Thomas’ obedience in writing. It has truly warmed my heart and filled my mind, spurring me on in the race I am running – to finish, and to finish well.
The goal in this book is to cultivate stronger, well-nourished bodies that are primed to become, in the words of the apostle Paul, “instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
He encourages the reader to look at your body as an instrument rather than an ornament, and in doing so, you’ll find new and compelling motivation to embrace the kind of active lifestyle that fortifies your soul.
I appreciate Thomas’ attack on sin. He writes,
Because we have positional holiness in the finished work of Jesus Christ, it’s tempting to ignore the call to pursue an experiential holiness, which Paul clearly calls us to do in 1 Timothy 6:11
The fact is, some sins are extremely difficult to get rid of, and on some level, we will be tempted by certain personally familiar sins until the day we die. We can rise above being enticed by them. We can manage them and gain mastery over them, but we may still be occasionally tripped up by them. How often we are tripped up, however, often depends on our vigilance and effort in fighting back.
Many people give up because they have been lied to. They think they can be cured, rise above the temptation, and never face it (or fall into it) again. Paul wouldn’t call us to endurance if God delivered us once and for all whenever we asked him to.
In the face of this imperfect reality, rather than permitting us to just give up, the ancients and Scripture urge Christians to take an active view of pursuing holiness. We can and even must cooperate in fighting sin.
John Baillie’s, a Scottish theologian, urges us to attack sin. He models this in his prayer:
I remember with bitterness the duties I have shirked.
I remember with sorrow the hard words I have spoken.
I remember with shame the unworthy thoughts I have harboured.
Use these memories, O God, to save me, and then for ever blot them out.
I cherish the reminder that sin, it its stark-naked reality, essentially calls God a liar: “Your way isn’t the best way. You want to deny me something that is good. You’re misleading me as to how I should live.” The reason we need to look at our rebellion in all its ugliness is so that our thinking can be changed. Paul says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2)
What this means is that every point of sin is a point of disagreement with God. And when we disagree with God, guess who is in the wrong? When we sin, we’re telling God, explicitly or implicitly, “You say to live this way, but I think it’s better to live that way.”
Go back to that moment of temptation and ask yourself, When, exactly, did I begin to call God a liar? Do you see how you were deceived? Thinking through your failings will remind you just how much of a liar Satan and our own desires can be.
Good stuff ey? This and countless information and statistics about the researched benefits of an active lifestyle can be found between the front and back cover. It truly has refreshed an refueled me for those hard days. I have been refocused as to why I stay active. I run to be prepared to go any good work. I want to be prepared to be useful to my Lord. I’ve been given this day, this one life. May I continue to run the race well for you Lord, it’s but a short journey here, I want to give it my all. Until that day, my goal is to run the race as to win the prize – a eternal lifetime spent in your presence. May my ears hear – Well done, my good and faithful servant. Thank you for these words Lord!