“So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you are really among those God has called and chosen. ” 2 Peter 1:10a (NLT)
When we consider the spiritual aspect of our lives, most Christians know that staying strong in their faith takes work, and growing in our faith takes hard work. While we know that God is ultimately the One who causes the growth (see 1 Corinthians 3:6-9), we also know that there is some mysterious partnership between us and God — we know that we have to participate by working hard to maintain and strengthen our faith.
The same is true about the physical aspect of our lives. While God created it as an amazing organism that grows and heals itself … in order for it to obtain its higher and God-given potential, hard work is required. We have to be thoughtful about what we eat, how much exercise we get, how must rest we give our bodies, etc.
The Greek word used in 2 Peter for “work hard” also can be translated as “be more diligent” or “give diligence.” Many of us fall into one of two categories: either we are diligent about the spiritual aspect of our lives or we are diligent about the physical aspect. Given time restraints and responsibilities, many of us can only find time to give diligence to one. What I wish to propose is that we not consider it and either-or choice, but that we could see there is a both-and option.
Caring for my body is an act of worship. God created my body and gave it to me to steward during my life on earth. Practically speaking, my exercise room has become my sanctuary. My time on the treadmill has become my best prayer time. It’s a time I am open and listening and laying things before God and have the space to hear Him respond. Eating well has strengthened my discipline and self-control (not to mention I feel better too!). Getting enough rest not only reminds me to let go of things and trust God but also to value and respect my personal limits. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
So, dear brothers and sisters, I trust that you are working hard, but I ask you to consider your hard work not to be an either-or choice, but a both-and. (For more, see April 7, 2014 entry).