One of the jobs of a wildlife biologist is to ensure that the wildlife community he is responsible for has its basic needs met, such as food, water, etc.  This can mean encouraging the natural system to find the plants and animals that other species use for food.  Predation of one animal upon a weaker one is a fact of life in the natural world.  “Survival of the fittest” is a law that emphasizes that fact.  Therefore, some people argue that to better our chances of survival, we need to be physically fit.  However, shouldn’t there be something more meaningful that governs us, as human beings?

I believe there is.  We, as humans, are supposed to be a step or two ahead of our wildlife companions. Part of that understanding should be the realization that we are creations of a loving God who created us to do good things.  Striving to maintain a high level of physical fitness should be done with the understanding that God expects us to stay healthy for as long as possible, so we can keep doing the good that He is calling us to do, for as long as possible……not to dominate others.

With those thoughts in mind, the motivation for improved physical fitness should also not just be a self-satisfying, self-centered effort to look better.  Our improved physical fitness should not result in inflated egos, vanity or arrogance towards those not as fit.  That is the animal response, not that of a good person.  As we improve physically through a healthy diet, aerobic exercise, and weight training, our response should be one of gratitude, appreciation and humility to the God who gives us these gifts.

So, the underlying “Power” that motivates us to be more physically fit should be a strong concern or love – for God, our neighbor, ourselves, and the world around us.

The need for improved physical fitness often comes out of the awareness that we are special people in love with a special God.  This love also empowers us to seek out and undertake God’s purposes for us as much as possible in our time on this earth.  It also leads us to care about our brothers and sisters, as well as other life around us. In a nutshell, it strengthens and improves our spiritual fitness.  For God, in His great wisdom, has blessed us with not only a physical, but also a spiritual self.

Our spiritual fitness level can be measured by the extent of our ability to love God and then act on that love.  Improving that spiritual fitness level occurs through developing and maintaining a strong relationship with God, through the following “spiritual exercises”:

• -Prayer – Without communication there is no relationship.  Praying to God – anytime and any place – is communication.
• -Bible reading & church Bible Studies
• -Church/community worship services and celebrations
• -Active ministry – Social, charitable, or other outreach involvements

These spiritual exercises, and others, build our spiritual fitness level.  The interesting thing is that the power underlying both spiritual and physical fitness levels should be the same ……that “caring love.”  Without it our spiritual fitness level declines.

People are meant to be different from our wildlife companions because they possess a power different from mere brute strength.  Love is the strength that gives a new meaning to “survival of the fittest.”  We are made in the image and likeness of God; as such, we should take fitness to a higher, more meaningful level.  In so doing, we must strive to combine physical and spiritual fitness.  Should not our physical self be in balance with, or submissive to, our spiritual self?  Should not the flesh submit to the spirit?

The power common to both physical and spiritual fitness needs to be love – for God and people.  Yet I am constantly perplexed at the lack of this power in the world today.  Even in the animal kingdom I see “the power” at work.  They still care for their own.  They show the same devotion and care for one another and their young that God wants us to show to each other.  Why do so many people seem to lack it?

{quotes}It has to start with each one of us, who persist in both physical and spiritual fitness with power, to make a difference for those around us.{/quotes}