(Please see the Table of Contents for an introduction to this series)
I have a friend who, like me, is preparing to run the Vancouver Marathon. Also, like me, he is a pastor who started running a few years ago and discovered that he loves it. We’ve been emailing back and forth, and in his last email he asked me if I had downloaded a nutrition plan for the week before the marathon.
I know about carb-loading a couple of days before a big race, but I didn’t know that you can find anywhere from one week to sixteen week nutrition and diet plans to prepare your muscles for the exertion of a marathon. Imagine eating something in January because of what you will be doing in May. But it makes sense. You cannot change your muscles overnight. Our nutrition changes our health and preparedness for exertion a little bit at a time.
The same is true in our walk with God. Take, for example, Paul’s words to Timothy to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season…” Or, in another version, “Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.”
Preaching the Word of God is not something only pastors do when they stand up Sunday morning and deliver a sermon. We all do it by the way we live and the way we speak. If we know we will be speaking to a friend about spiritual matters next week, we can try to “Scripture-load” two or three days in advance (something akin to cramming for a test), but what about those “out of season” times, when we are not expecting the question, or the time is not favorable for us. Will we still be prepared?
Not if we are the “Scripture-loading” type! However, if we have been on a spiritual nutrition plan, preparing our spiritual muscles little by little for sudden exertion, we will be ready in season and out of season. Being in the Word for a few minutes every day is always more nutritious than loading up for two hours once a month.
So why not start today? Prepare yourself by quieting your heart (about one minute), read one passage or one chapter (about three to five minutes), and then focus on something that stood out to you in the passage (about one minute).
The beauty of this is that even though you were only reading Scripture for 5-10 minutes, it goes into your mind and body, and does a world of good, little by little. Try this for four weeks, six days a week. You will see and feel a difference after the first week. Who knows, perhaps you will be preparing yourself for the spiritual run you never expected, and you will be ready.