Most of my life I have been involved in organized athletics and training. I have continued the habit of daily exercise over the years because (eventhough I don’t usually like it) the benefits are worth the sacrifice. If we regularly use our muscles they will tend to either maintain health or grow stronger.
This is a natural phenomenon that points to a spiritual reality. What we actively put to use spiritually will either grow and develop or at least maintain health. We must exercise our “spiritual muscles” if we are going to see them stay healthy and develop. If we quit exercising our spiritual muscles in any area there will be decline.
Jesus expressed this Kingdom principle in Matthew 25 and Luke 19. He gave a parable about a man trusting resources (talents) to his servants at a variety of levels. Most of his servants put those resources to use and gained as a result. This introduces us to a Kingdom principle; if you work with what you are given there will be gain.
One of the servants didn’t do anything with what he was given. When the man returned he commended those servants who put to use the things they were given, which resulted in increase. He also rebuked the one who didn’t do anything with what he was given. At the end of the story He brought out the other side of this Kingdom principle, you end up losing what you don’t use!
Mat 25:1-29…(28) ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ (29) “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
The one who uses what he was given will receive more, but the one who doesn’t use what he has been given will lose what he has. It is much like the principle of “sowing and reaping.” We only reap what we have sown. It is hard to expect to reap a harvest if we have not sown towards it.
We tend to think that God’s Kingdom works like Robin Hood. We think He takes from the one who has (rich) and gives it to the one who does not have (poor). God’s Kingdom doesn’t work that way. God gives more to the one who is responsible to use what he has been given. The one who isn’t responsible will lose even what he has been given.
The spiritual muscle of evangelism
I have observed this principle at work in my own life in the area of evangelism. The part of our life that engages in evangelism is like a muscle. The more you work it the easier it becomes. The less you work it the harder it becomes. Also, the more you use it on regular bases the healthier you will be.
I have seen people over the years exercise in binges. After the Christmas season people often make resolutions to get in shape and hit the exercise hard. This usually results in them burning out very quickly. Binge exercising adds to the difficulty because your body becomes very sore quickly which is discouraging. About the time you would start to become use to it people are so discouraged they quit. With that type of approach it never really becomes a normal part of their life which leads to long term health.
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