Keeping spirit fit just as important as your body

By Debra Whittington

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day…

Hebrews 3:13

Before Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper of “The Biggest Loser” television show by many decades came the original fitness guru, Jack La Lanne. While fitness and health are in the forefront of American society, Jack pursued a healthy lifestyle decades ago.

Now, at age 95, he continues the quest to inspire others to follow a regime of healthy living by example through exercise every day and a healthy diet. At his side is his wife of 50 years who is also physically fit because he led her to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

I remember working out with Jack LaLanne as a young girl. The exercises were basic with only a chair as equipment. The half hour went by quickly as we went through the exercises together with Jack giving encouragement to keep on working and never quit.

Now, decades later, I am embarking on a new exercise program and once again trying to eat a healthier diet. During the years since Jack LaLanne’s show I tried bicycling, jazzercise, walking, and even exercising with Richard Simmons.

While focusing on keeping the body fit; the same principles apply with our spiritual well being. How many times have we started on a program to read through the Bible in a year, every day only to miss a few days by the time we reach February? What about an intensive Bible study?

A year ago, I purchased a Bible study book called “The Parables of Jesus”. The cover said it only took 20 minutes a day to read and answer the questions. I still haven’t started working through it. Does this mean I am a failure? No, it only means I am a procrastinator who needs to get back on the right track and start again.

What we need is an encourager like Barnabas who will come along side us and encourage us to do our best. Like Jack LaLanne is to the world of fitness, so is Billy Graham an encouragement to millions of people, including myself. He has remained faithful to the Gospel all of his life and preached the Good News to countless numbers of people. Although his health limits him, his legacy continues on through others.

As Christians we are to become spiritually fit through Bible Study, prayer, witnessing, assembling together to worship. When we are strong, we should encourage those who are struggling. When I am struggling and weak, I turn to Jesus first for help. Afterwards, I seek someone who can encourage me and help set me back on course.

Living a healthy lifestyle, both physically and spiritually will not enable us to win money or fame, but the rewards are everlasting. In an article in American Profile, Jack LaLanne commented, “Dying is easy.

Living, you’ve got to work at…” While we are working on becoming the best we can be, a little encouragement can make all the difference.