By Charles Remington
As a walked across the gym floor with perspiration coming from my brow, my wife, Denise said "honey, you're a body builder". I looked at her with amazement was my wife just getting it. I had been building this body for more than twenty years. Then again she said, "you're a body builder", it was then that I got the revelation she was speaking of the body of Christ. She was saying what Paul was inspired to say in Ephesians 4:12 "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up". Since that day neither of our lives will be the same.
As I write, it has been seven years since I surrendered by life to The Lord, and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. It was that same voice that called me honey, that lead me to The Lord, my wife Denise. Early on in my walk with the Lord, I knew that there was a call on my life, He would bring many who were seeking to be built up in their physical bodies would leave being built up also in their spirit's. In John 15:16 the word of God says "you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last".
I have been blessed that the Lord used a natural principle to teach me something in the spiritual. You see, I thought that the purpose for my life was to instruct all that came on how to build the body, but the Lord had another plan for me. He only allowed me to perfect something in the natural so that it could be used for His purpose in the spiritual. The Lord permitted me to see something in the natural to set the stage for what I would learn in the unseen realm of the spirit.
As a body builder I accepted a lifestyle that without pain there could be no gain in my level of fitness. This allowed me to face hours of grueling workouts not for the pain, but for the reward it brought. As a Christian, without death to self, there could be no life in Christ. God's word proclaims in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me". In Luke 9:23-24 the Lord said "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it". The word that stood out to my heart was daily. Jesus was saying what I knew about physical fitness, was also true about being spiritually fit, it needed daily attention.
In my quest for the ideal body there were nine muscle groups shoulders, chest, back, biceps, triceps, abdominals, quadraceps, hamstrings and calves, that needed balanced development. Each group would need to compliment the other, any weakness would catch the eye of the unforgiving judges. This developed a critical eye that was focused on improving weaknesses and avoiding looking only at strengths. In my spiritual walk with the Lord, there are nine fruit of a Holy Spirit led life that would be manifested. In Galatians 5:22 "but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law". My forgiving Heavenly judge was pleased when I recognized my weakness and exchanged it for, His strength in me. I found encouragement in the promises of God's word, as in John 15:5, when Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remain in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing". Jesus was saying my responsibility was to remain in, Him. He was responsible for producing the fruit in me. That I must not try in my own strength, but to trust and become what God has called me to be, just like Jesus.
To build the body there was weighted resistance needed to bring strength and endurance to the muscle for development. In the spirit the resistance would come from trials and temptations. In James 1:2-4 the word of the Lord says "consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete; not lacking anything". We are to press forward not losing heart, knowing that our Heavenly Father will complete the good work, He has begun in us. In Philippians 1:6 the word of God declares, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
To feed the body it required balanced nutrition so that it could repair itself and grow stronger. To feed the spirit it required being fed God's word. In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, "it is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God". In the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:11 Jesus said, "give us today our daily bread". The key word for our spiritual fitness is today, Jesus was saying, give us today our spiritual food, the word of God. In the natural a body that is well nourished is not hungry. The same is true in the spiritual, In John 6:35 Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty".
The third ingredient for muscle development was rest. Time when the body could recuperate and prepare itself for the next challenge. During this period of rest, strange as it would seem is when the muscles grow. The same would be true in the spirit, that it would grow the most in the peace and rest in the presence of the Lord. In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus said, "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." The Lord is saying that the peace and rest that we seek can only be found in Him. That we will find disappointment in the world, but rest in Him, for He has overcome the world.
There must be balance to have both physical and spiritual fitness. To maintain a level of fitness in the body there must be a balance of exercise, nutrition and rest. The same is true in the spiritual world. We must exercise ( pray ), we must be nourished ( God's word ) and we must rest ( in God's presence - relationship with God ). It is easy to lose balance in one or all of these area's. In the natural, as we well know if we exercise, but have poor nutrition there is little reward. The same is true in the spiritual. If we pray, but with no relationship, there will be little reward.
God's word teaches that we are made in God's image. In Genesis 1:26 God said, Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness. The us and our reveals the trinity of God, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. The trinity of man is made up of spirit, soul and body. There is a hierarchy to the three, I explain it as the spirit is the general, the soul the lieutenant and the body the private. Your development of spiritual fitness must be spirit led. In John 4:23-24 Jesus told the Samaritan woman, "yet a time is coming and has come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth". Jesus was saying, we are unable to enter into the presence of God through intellect or works of the flesh. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 apostle Paul said, "may your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ".
The time is now for the body of Christ to rise up, and mature into the full likeness of Christ, a full expression of Christ's life abiding in us and we in Him. Our Lord is coming back to be the head of a corporate body of believers that will walk with kingdom vision and kingdom authority. A time when the Lord will walk in our midst, through us in glory and power. A kingdom where its citizens have the King dwelling inside them, sitting on the throne of their hearts. A people so yielded unto God, that the cry of their hearts is to do the will of their Heavenly Father. To be the Lord's hands, feet and voice. The Lord confirmed this to me through a prophetic word. It was a morning that my wife and I were to minister in the healing rooms at Gateway Christian Fellowship. The Lord said, "Rise up My children, for I am in you and you are in Me, for I have called you by name. Though you are in this world you are not of this world, you are a citizen of My kingdom where I rule and I reign. There is no sickness or disease in My kingdom. Go this day and speak My words of truth for they are alive and will quicken your mortal bodies".
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