Bod4God: Your Team
Disciplines of Community
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (ESV) Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
From the beginning of the world God placed people into community. We are not intended to live independently. Bound together under the wisdom of God, we are far more able to live and prosper. Even when we read about individuals like David or Paul, they are set in the middle of a community. God tells us His story through the people (plural) of God.
In your desire to dedicate your Bod4God, you’re going to need a community to live out that commitment. You’ve identified what you want to change and you’ve made a plan for putting that change into place. Identify the network God has placed around you to give you the support and encouragement you need to move from intention toward true change. Consider if your health plan is a family plan or your exercise time is also relational time. Share your hopes and your process with someone – a trusted sister or brother in faith or your small group – as soon as possible. Let them hear your heart for God and your goals in being physically able in serving Him. Map out your plan clearly with them. Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines of Guidance, Confession, Celebration and Worship together will help you stay on track.
1 Thessalonians 5:14–18 (NLT) Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Life together in Christian community means being open to guidance and living with accountability. Consider how your chosen network can give you wisdom in fine tuning your plan. They may even direct you to new input or another voice of wisdom in breaking your plan into individual steps. You may have been reading health plans that include trainers and support groups and even weigh-ins. These should not be surprising. They are reflections of God’s intention that we live in community. Accept the guidance God sends you in human packages.
If someone calls on you for guidance and support, notice the caring heart involved in our passage today. It’s God’s love that you are channeling and one fruit of that love is joy. Keep this passage handy when you are in contact with someone taking Bod4God steps.
Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
The cross came about as a result of God’s great desire to forgive. Jesus came to heal the evil of humanity, to forgive and redeem it. He draws us into a relationship of truth. We are redeemed from our sinful bent free and clear. Yet we recognize our ongoing struggle with what Paul calls “the flesh”. Our discipline of confession draws us close to God’s forgiveness, the grace we need to reboot and start each day new.
The practice of confession within our faith family is another way we look, live and love more like Jesus. Certainly, our forgiveness comes to us straight from God, but it is so much richer when God uses a human voice to speak his forgiveness into our ears. A faith-filled brother or sister can help us feel the freedom that comes from stripping of the weight of sin that slows us down. If you’re keeping a food journal, share it with someone. If you’re following a new exercise routine keep them updated on your new habit, especially if you slip on consistency. If you get discouraged, ask them to tell you about God’s love and plans for you.
Philippians 1:3–6 (The Message) Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is sometimes called the Joy Letter. You can see why from this passage. When people follow God’s lead they are flowing in a stream of joy. Joy is not only the end result of moving along God’s path, but it is the fuel that keeps the motion along the path going. The Spiritual Discipline of Celebration keeps us tuned into the joy of God’s work in us as individuals and in the world around us.
As you take the steps of your plan, notice God’s presence along the way. Notice the people He brings across your path. Notice the blessings brought about in the change you’re addressing. Notice the joy that flows through you and into others. Share your observations with your support network because celebration is always better as a group! They may also have some observations to add to the celebration.
Ephesians 3:20, Ephesians 3:20–21 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Our celebrations of Joy flow naturally into worship. We started this series saying we cannot hope for any permanent progress in making healthy decisions without God’s Spirit breathing into us. When we see results, we remember who brought them about. It’s time for praise, thanksgiving all wrapped into the Spiritual Discipline of Worship. We dedicate ourselves to Him at the front end of our plan and acknowledge Him at each step of our journey.
How will you weave a daily sense of worship into your plan? How will you weave your support network into your acts of worship?
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