Todd Stiles   -  

I remember, as a high schooler, the daily routine of wrestling practice. Running the stairs, throwing the dummy, wrestling the coach, and cutting weight. In all candor, sometimes I wonder why I was even attracted to such a sport.

One thing that remains distinct in my memory is my father’s words each day as I left his office to go to the gym for practice. Without fail, I heard these encouraging remarks, “Have a good workout.”  Day after day, week after week, my father supported me in my grappling endeavor by verbally nudging me to value the work out, not just the match.

Paul wrote some similar words in Philippians 2 to encourage us in our spiritual workouts:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (2:12)

Observe the words “work out” and their placement in the context, which is especially seen later in verse 15. Paul is challenging us to “have a good workout” before we charge into the world to engage its philosophies, ideas, and concepts as lights “in a crooked and twisted generation.” But how?  How does a Christian properly stretch and strain his or her spiritual muscles so that they are an effective witness? How does a follower of Jesus “have a good workout,” spiritually speaking? Again, the clues are in the context.

1.  Display the right attitude. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”This speaks to our conversations.

2.  Develop the right attributes. “that ye may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish…” This speaks to our character.

3.  Demonstrate the right attractiveness. “…in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” This speaks to our conduct.

We believers must become spiritually fit; it is urgent we get in shape. The world is in desperate need of counter-culture Christians who are strong enough to swim upstream, go against the grain, and stand against the tide. That can only be done by someone who is regularly “working out,” men and women committed to healthy words, inner integrity, and external winsomeness.

As you enter the arena of life this week to grapple with its many temptations and situations, God is reminding you today to “have a good workout.” To seek to be one that is spiritually well-conditioned and well-trained. Be encouraged, fellow believer—He will empower you for exactly this, for he is in you “both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (v 13).

Pastor Todd