GETTING IN SHAPE WITHOUT PHYSICAL EXERCISE
HOW MUCH LONGER DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS
“…UNTIL Christ [is]… formed “IN” you…” (Galatians 4:19 KJV).
Eventually spiritual training and practice turns into shaping where both behavior and heart match and reflect a desired response. For instance, God can use shaping to train you to response with humility through your behavior and from the heart.
First, God will put you into the right environment. I was put in the place of dependency and at the mercy of others after being a grown, independent woman. My initial behavior and heart attitude kept me bothered, agitated, negative, prideful, and frustrated. But every time I would submit I felt God’s peace. “And the PEACE OF GOD, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 ASV).
When my heart attitude started changing I felt even more peace. In addition, when my submission turned to humility; I felt even a deeper peace. “…IN ME YOU MAY HAVE PEACE…” (John 16:33 NASB).
As dependency became a part of my daily routine; humbling myself started changing my heart and I was rewarded with the ongoing and continual peace of God. “…Thou wilt keep him in PERFECT PEACE, whose mind is stayed on thee…” (Isaiah 26:3 KJV). “….MY PEACE I GIVE to you; not as the world gives do I give to you…” (John 14:27 NASB). “….THERE IS PEACE with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all…” (Acts 10:36 NASB).
My new abilities (dependency) and skills (humility) shaped both my behavior and my heart through the infusion of spiritual training and practice within my daily routine.
In psychology shaping is a method used when changing behavior is the goal. When God uses shaping as a method, infused in your daily routine, his goal is to change both the behavior and the heart. “…Be conformed to the image of his Son...” (ROMANS 8:29 KJV). “…Be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” (Romans 12:2 KJV).
Godly shaping includes a mystical aspect that guides and directs both behavior and heart. “…It is God which worketh IN [you]… both to will and to do….” (Philippians 2:13 KJV). “…That [God]… would grant [them]… to be strengthened with might by his Spirit IN the inner man…” (Ephesians 3:16 KJV).
The effectiveness of God’s method is the mystical element of the indwelling Holy Spirit. “…God’s Spirit dwells in you…” (1 Corinthians 3:16 NASB).
The Holy Spirit does the WORK in transforming ungodly behavior by replacing it, through indwelling shaping, with Godly behavior. “..Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW creature…” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).
The new Godly behavior and heart change may initially be totally foreign to the person being shaped. “…all things are BECOME NEW…” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV). “…I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along “unfamiliar” paths I will guide them…” (Isaiah 42:16 NIV).
The shaping standard for my new behavior and changed heart was Christ-likeness. “Let this MIND (humble) be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5 KJV). “…I am gentle and HUMBLE IN HEART…” (Matthew 11:29 NIV). “…If My people which are called by My name SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES …AND TURN FROM their wicked ways…” (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV). “…but he who HUMBLES HIMSELF will be exalted…” (Luke 18:14 ASV). “HUMBLE YOURSELVES in the sight of the Lord…” (James 4:10 KJV). “…HUMBLE YOURSELVES therefore under the mighty hand of God…” (1 Peter 5:6 KJV).
Second, not only was I put in a place of dependency and at the mercy of others; but my options or choices were VERY limited. When you were a child and told to do homework; your parents would REMOVE ALL distractions. : “… I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Though options and choices are limited, during periods of Godly shaping, human will is still accessible. Thus you can still choose among the options you have left. “…therefore choose life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
However, when you choose LIFE, you are choosing to "humble yourself" to the WORK of the indwelling Holy Spirit. “….it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure…” (Philippians 2:13 KJV).
Thus, if you “choose life” you have what is needed to carry out that choice? “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).
God helps you DO whatever is necessary to get you into spiritual shape. For instance, parents may turn off the television or radio. They may not let their children talk on the phone or have company; or they tell them they can’t go outside to play until they are finished. Children choose to hearken to their parents instructions. “…And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, ….ALL THESE BLESSING SHALL COME ON THEE, and overtake thee…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2 KJV).
Third and final, I was dependent and at the mercy of others with limited options, AND I was on God’s time table. “…MY TIMES are in Your hand…” (Psalms 31:15a KJV). “…MY FUTURE is in your hands…” (Psalms 31:15a NLT). “….To every [thing there is] a season, and A TIME to every purpose under the heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV). “…For the vision [is] yet FOR AN APPOINTED TIME, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, WAIT FOR IT; because IT WILL SURELY COME, it will not tarry….” (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV). “…And in the PROCESS of TIME “IT” CAME TO PASS…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV).
Humility conformed my behavior and transformed my heart, but the greatest lesson of all was PATIENT ENDURANCE. “…..let PATIENCE have its perfect work (maturing work)….” (James 1:2-4 KJV). Patient endurance requires TIME.
However, for me, TIME caused the most PAIN. “… they that WAIT UPON the LORD shall renew [their] strength…” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV). “…WAIT ON the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: WAIT, I say, on the LORD…” (Psalms 27:14 KJV). “…The LORD [is] good unto them that WAIT FOR HIM…” (Lamentations 3:25 KJV). “…THOUGH IT TARRY, WAIT FOR IT….” (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV).
It takes human parents at least 18 years to raise a child to the very basic level of maturity, but even after 18 years some of them are NOT ready. How long, then, would it take God to mature you IN Christ? Only God knows when you are ready. “…My brethren ….the testing of your faith produces PATIENCE. But let PATIENCE have its perfect work, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking nothing….” (James 1:2-4 KJV). “…Dear brothers and sisters …when your [indwelling Spirit of] faith is tested, your ENDURANCE has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your ENDURANCE is fully developed, you will be perfect (mature) and complete, needing nothing….” (James 1:2-4 NLT).
“…Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, LET US PRESS ON TO MATURITY…” (Hebrews 6:1 NASB). God wants to bring you to maturity IN Christ. “…[So]…you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking nothing….” (James 1:2-4 KJV).
God ALLOTS whatever TIME is necessary “…UNTIL Christ [is]… formed in you…” (James 4:19 KJV). “…UNTIL Christ is fully developed in your lives…” (James 4:19 NLT).
Evidently, there is a PLACE of maturity in Christ - as much as is humanly possible - and it happens in the PROCESS of TIME. “…And in the PROCESS of time “IT” CAME TO PASS…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV). “…UNTIL Christ [is]… formed in you…” (James 4:19 KJV).
Spiritual training and practice turns into shaping where both behavior and heart match and reflect a desired Christ-like transformation.
A desired Christ-like transformation will reveal the fruit of the Spirit. “…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Spiritual shaping, therefore, becomes the method for producing Christian character REVEALED by Godly fruit. “…Ye shall know them by their fruits…” (Matthew 7:16 KJV).
Godly fruit is the proof or mark of true discipleship shaping. "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and SO PROVE to be My disciples” (John 15:8 NIV). Therefore, “You can identify them… by their… fruit, that is, by the way they… act…” (Matthew 7:16 NLT).
God choose you to bear fruit. "You did not choose me but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…” (John 15:16 ASV). “…Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing…” (John 15:4-6 NASB).
Godly SHAPING takes time. TIME requires patience. PATIENCE requires endurance. ENDURANCE requires humble dependency upon the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Time has always been the biggest challenge for me, personally. Time can go from moments to hours to days to weeks to months and on to YEARS. “…the PROCESS of time …” (Genesis 4:3 KJV).
When God is using situations and circumstances to SHAPE you it is the indwelling Holy Spirit doing the WORK of transformation .
Waiting is more tolerable when you feel you are going through difficulty, but after a LITTLE while things will turn around and everything will be alright again.
However, the challenge comes when it doesn’t turn around in “YOUR” timing. All of a sudden, gigantic amounts of time have passed. You are older. You think opportunities have passed or been missed. Lazarus is dead. It is totally out of your control and you couldn’t fix it now anyway.
The LONG stretch of TIME has caused you untold disappointments; impacted your human faith, or made you question God’s promises. You begin to accept you may NOT get your desire met in this life time, or you start to think you’ve been this martyr for God, and he simply didn’t come through for you. Any possible change NOW seems impossible and you start looking at alternate outcomes.
TIME has always caused me the greatest PAIN and the greatest CHALLENGE.
However, this is what I had to do: “…HUMBLE [MYSELF]…under the mighty hand of God…” (1 Peter 5:6 KJV). “…MY TIMES [were]… in [God’s]… hand…” (Psalms 31:15a KJV). “…WAIT ON the LORD …WAIT, I say, on the LORD…” (Psalms 27:14 KJV). “…THOUGH IT TARRY, WAIT FOR IT….” (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV). “…If the Lord will, [I] shall live, and do this, or that...” (James 4:16 KJV).
I discovered the PAIN, HEARTACHE, and DISAPPOINTED- from LONG stretches of TIME- came because God did NOT change things WHEN "I" wanted him too. I’d been patiently waiting for HIM to change many situations and felt he promised he would, but he didn't promise he would do it in MY time-frame. “Let us not become weary in doing good…” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
Without knowing it, as long as you have your youth, your teeth (LOL), your health, or other things in place; you could wait patiently for God. “Let us not become weary in doing good…” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
Without knowing it, we expect God to work things out or restore things in our lives based on the way we think it should be worked out or restored. However, “…at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up…” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
We also believe certain things need to be present in order for God to work them out or restore them. “…”AT” the proper time we will reap a harvest …” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
I realized the PAIN came because God didn’t work things out or restore things WHEN I wanted him to. Again, “…At the PROPER time…” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
I realized HEARTACHE came because I felt God let all the opportunities for working things out or restoring things pass or be missed. . “…And in PROCESS of time IT CAME TO PASS…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV).
I realized DISAPPOINTMENT came because the things I hoped would be worked out or restored, especially after so much TIME had passed, seem DEAD. “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord IF THOU HADST BEEN THERE, my brother had not died…” (John 11:21 KJV).
Finally, I realized I was depending on the outcome I wanted or imagined and was not really trusting in the OUTCOME God wanted for me; WHATEVER IT WAS, GOD SAID: “…I WILL turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I WILL do; I WILL not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16 NIV). “…The LORD WILL accomplish (take care of)…that which concerns [you]…” (Psalms 138:8 NASB).
I had to let it ALL go by TRUSTING his time-frame and outcome. Surrendering to his WILL freed me from the pain, heartache, and disappointment. “….Don't put your trust in mere human beings (including yourself)….” (Isaiah 2:22 NLT). “…Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In All thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV).
Whose outcome would be better anyway; MINE or GOD’S? “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV).
I was holding on to things being worked out or restored by a certain time, in a certain way, under certain circumstances, before this age or that age, or before, what I considered, it was too LATE. “…the things which are impossible with men are possible with God…” (Luke 18:27 KJV).
Holding onto the things YOU think are needed in order for things to work out or be restored is STILL about YOUR desire to CONTROL the OUTCOME. “…Everything I PLAN will come to pass, for I DO whatever I WISH…” (Isaiah 46: 9-10 NLT). “...ALL THINGS work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE…” (ROMANS 8:28 KJV).
ALL the glory WILL go to God for working things out and restoring things in your life. You will KNOW without a doubt; it was the miraculously WORK of God Almighty!!! "I am the LORD, that is My name; I WILL NOT give My glory to another (not even you)... "Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare NEW THINGS…” (Isaiah 42:9 NASB).
Spiritual SHAPING will always produce Godly fruit and ADD HUMILITY and PATIENCE to your character. “…ADD to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 1: 4-9 KJV).
LET GOD GET YOU INTO SHAPE, WITHOUT PHYSICAL EXERCISE, BY ALLOWING THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT TO DO THE WORK OF CONFORMING. WHEN YOU PUT YOUR BEHAVIOR, YOUR HEART, AND YOUR “TIME” IN HIS HANDS, THE OUTCOME WILL "ALWAYS" RESULT IN MIRACULOUS TRANSFORMATION.