For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything and in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 AMP
I have always been interested with endurance sports events – cycling grand tours of Italy, France and Spain, ironman, triathlon, marathons, the longest day, to name a few. While I have never done anything that ambitious I have come to appreciate the hard work these athletes put in, over long periods, even years, to achieve success.
This year I decided to read about these champions habits – what makes them achieve such high levels of endurance, the strategies and what they have learned through trial and error.
I’m reading a book at the moment called The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald. The book is built around the five core habits in diet that makes these champions. The research suggests that nearly 100 percent of the athletes studied over a long time and in different eras each had some form of these five presenting disciplines in their diet.
- Eat everything
- Eat quality
- Ear carb-centred
- Eat enough
- Eat individually
Habit 1: Eat Everything
There are six categories of natural whole foods: vegetables; fruits; nuts, seeds and healthy oils; unprocessed meats and seafood; whole grains and dairy. Elite endurance athletes regularly consume all six natural whole food categories.
Habit 2: Eat Quality
While the athletes eat everything, they don’t eat them in equal amounts. They skew their diet towards high-quality foods and eat low-quality foods in moderation.
Habit 3: Eat Carb-Centred
In most meals these athletes will include carb-rich food such as whole grains and fruit in their meals and snacks.
Habit 4: Eat Enough
Elite endurance athletes do not consciously restrict the amount of food they eat. Instead they pay attention to signal from their body of hunger and allow these to determine when and how much they eat. This is the only reliable way to eat sufficiently but not excessively.
Habit 5: Eat Individually
Each athlete is a unique person, so they all eat differently and develop their own version of the endurance diet. It is the broader practice of paying attention to how our body responds to various eating patterns and adjusting them to enhance positive outcomes.
It is the combination of these five habits that the research suggests that races are won by the fittest participants.
As I have been reading the book, I’ve entertained this thought: “A person seeking the Kingdom of God would not be considered spiritually “fit” if we are not engrossed totally in pursuing and chasing hard after Christ.
In this regard, let’s examine the five habits mentioned earlier as parallels to being fit for God’s Kingdom. I’ve renamed each habit to assist me in my understanding.
Habit 1: Explore Everything
There are numerous avenues for Christians to explore to stay spiritually fit. Prayer, fasting, soaking, meditation of God’s Word, worship, mentors to name a few. Take the time also to discover electronic media channels, social media, books, and other resources so readily available today.
Habit 2: Set Time aside every day with God
Determine each day to set aside quality time for you to meet Jesus. For me it is the first thing I do each day when I wake. Skew your time to be with Jesus. “Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life and He will provide for you what you desire most” Psalm 37:24 – The Passion Translation.
Habit 3: God’s Word Centred Intake
God’s Word is the most spiritually rich resource we ever need. Read it daily, meditate, memorise, listen, make notes, read commentaries, sermons, blogs, devotions – anything that will make you rich in God’s Word
Habit 4: Be Hungry for His Presence
The Lord rewards those who humble themselves before Him and seek Him in a deeper way. Each day we need a fresh hunger of desperation and desire in seeking God’s face. For me there is a deep hunger and thirst that I may dwell with the Lord every moment of each day. That I may be continually attentive to Him, offering myself to Him in all things.
Habit 5: We are each Individual and Unique
Pay attention to how you best respond when in the Lord’s presence. We are all unique and the way we each spend time with God depends on our own individually. I encourage you each never to lose who you are in Christ.
Taking good care of our body, mind and spirit is vital because we owe it to not only ourselves and those who depend on us, but especially our Creator. This is the season to be spiritually fit for God’s Kingdom.