Stand up straight. Don’t slouch. Put the chair down on all four legs. Ever said any of these to your kids? Actually I heard all of those and more from my grandmother growing up. I didn’t pay much attention until recently.
My fitness trainer doesn’t look a thing like my grandma, but I’m positive he could correct even my grandma’s posture, that is when she was alive. He tells me every day when I go to train to stand with my feet straight and shoulder-width apart, knees loose and not locked, shoulders back, chest out and head straight.
This weekend I was at a conference where Charlotte Gambill, Bradbury, England, talked about good posture as well. She called it external posture and made the distinction between that and internal posture. I wondered if she’d been in my trainer’s class because she talked about the importance of tweaking your posture so your feet are in correct position for instance in starting to run a race.
She explained how you get down into the starting blocks and then the command is given to get set and then go. Her point was that having your feet in the correct position makes all the difference in the world.
The same is true of internal posture. There could be things that are out of alignment internally. You could have a weary posture, a frustrated posture, a guilty posture, a broken posture, a who-cares posture.
Many times my fitness trainer will tell me to turn my right heel out an inch or move my left foot back and inch so that everything is in the correct position. It’s interesting to me that it is much easier for me to move myself into proper physical alignment than it is to move into proper spiritual alignment.
All I might need to do would be to forgive someone, to say I’m sorry to another, to spend time in prayer, to sit down and write, to talk to someone I see everyday but ignore because I’m more interested in my own agenda. Instead, I find every reason not to follow through.
I’m fond of saying that if God would just give me the design for the arc, I’d be Noah and get to building. But I know that’s not true. I’d probably question for several years as to whether or not this is really the design and then argue with God about the need for a bigger boat or for a more trained boat builder.
Charlotte’s phenomenal point in the conference was the correct way to come to God is feet first, falling at His feet like Mary did when she anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and dried them with her hair.
To walk in the Spirit, we have to learn to fall down at Jesus’ feet first. Many of us want to run before we can even stand correctly. We want to accomplish great things for God before lunch. In reality, we may not even be at a point where we can get out of bed before lunch.
We have desire, but we don’t have stamina or strength. We have not put in the hard work training correctly, learning from the Master, reading His word and understanding it, praying and getting a clear direction of where to head first.
For years I walked using my right leg as a kind of crutch for my left. I thought double knee replacement surgery would help and it did, but it still didn’t correct my lumbering gait.
Exercising on my own helped some, but not enough because I did not have the correct posture. After a month of going to the gym every day, I’m just now beginning to walk without leaning from side to side or wandering over into someone else’s path. I’m starting to see the correct muscles being strengthened to help me walk correctly.
What if I put in the hour I put in every day training physically to train spiritually? What would that look like in my life? Just today God challenged me to do that and so this is the first day of my spiritual training.
No, I’m not sitting and reading the Bible for an hour or even praying for an hour. My time with God is more along the line of journaling. I read. I listen. I process. I write. Your time of spiritual training might take on a different form. It might even be physically exercising and talking to God as you do.
Yesterday, I listened to God. He told me I needed to go to a Bible study I sometimes go to. I argued with Him. I had other things to do. But I went. And guess what, yeah the DVD of Stormy Omartin had a specific section that likened proper physical position in swimming to proper spiritual position in our lives. I have been a Christian for 50 years and one thing I’ve certainly learned is that if you hear two speakers talking about the same thing within a week of each other, God is trying to tell you something.
She, like Charlotte, talked about tweaking your feet and your body alignment so that you move easily through the water. But she added a thought.
“You can know what to do to swim, but if you don’t get in the water, you won’t go anywhere,” she said. “We need to pray, Lord give me a heart to do what you want me to do.”
The proper position matters to move physically and to walk in the Spirit. It also helps if your desire is more than just soaking up information. You have to actually exercise the spiritual muscles it takes to move in the Spirit impacting your world for Christ.
Then there’s this scripture that makes a whole lot more sense to me now. “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting, you’ll still be on your feet.” That’s the Message version of Ephesians 6:13. You’ll remember it says in the NIV “…And after you have done everything, stand.”
The preparation is the important thing in all that we’re talking about. I heard about a guy who duped a hospital into thinking he had a degree as a brain surgeon. But it didn’t take long for them to figure out he didn’t have a clue of how to make an incision. I’m just glad I didn’t need brain surgery that week.
The same is true of our lives as Christians. What makes us think we will make a difference in anyone’s life if we haven’t taken the time to practice the proper spiritual posture? The entry point, the place it all begins is at Jesus’ feet, first.