And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
My friend Tiffany strongly urged me a couple of weeks ago to join her at Boot Camp Challenge. She claims it’s just because she didn’t want to go by herself, which I’m sure is partly true. But she also knows that I’ve been looking for something to do to kick start my “get back in shape” mission and she knew I was up to the challenge even though I wasn’t sure myself.
That is admonishing the idle.
Boot Camp Bill likes me. He told me this morning. Do you know why? He says he likes me because I have focus. I told him that I have to focus when I do the crazy stuff he asks me to do or I would hurt myself. “My right side is weak,” I told him. “I’ve had more knee surgeries than I have knees. I know to focus on technique and build up weight as I go. I’m just not steady on my right side yet.”
“YET!” he bellowed. “That’s the key word: YET! You’re focused, you have a goal and you’re gonna get there!”
That, my friends, is encouraging the fainthearted.
On Saturday, Boot Camp Bill also helped me do these ridiculous ab exercises that I won’t even begin to explain because, he says, we need to train my muscles to know they can do it before they’ll start doing it on their own. Today, I did them on my own.
That is helping the weak.
My first week I couldn’t do the side-to-side ab workouts on that dreaded Bosu ball because my balance was so bad and my core was so weak. Boot Camp Bill let me keep my heels on the ground instead of up in the air that first week because I had a goal to get my feet in the air this week. Guess where my feet were on Monday? That’s right. They were off the ground. Most of the time at least.
And that is being patient with all.
There’s a reason that Scripture is full of athletic illustrations when discussing out spiritual lives. We are the body of Christ, and our spiritual life requires daily upkeep and nutrition and challenge, just like our physical life.
So if you are one who is spiritually healthy, teaching those who are idle, weak, and fainthearted, continue encouraging them! Praise the small victories. Help them set realistic goals. Teach them technique concerning spiritual devotion and then challenge them to go deeper as the simple things get easier.
And if you’re the beginner (or the beginning again-er), take heart and persevere! Do not let early set backs get you down. Don’t give up if you don’t do something the “right way” the first time. Don’t focus on being a mighty prayer warrior; just focus on talking to God daily. Don’t aim for five hours of Bible study each day in the original languages; just subscribe to a daily devotional and read the entire chapter the devotional verses come from. Start small, work on technique and challenge yourself to go deeper as that the things of Christ begin to feed your soul.
What about you? How you begin again when you’ve taken time away from spiritual health? How do you encourage those around you in their spiritual walks?