Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stability (2.25.07)

Watching my father go through his paces at the rehab facility the other day got me thinking about stability. Most of use are blessed by God with strength and physical stability when we're young - we hardly even think about it. Seeing him struggle for balance as he walked up a model staircase and back down was unsettling. Another case of "if you don't use it, you lose it." Our neuromuscular system needs to be worked on with equal earnestness or else, as we age, we will likely experience that uneasy feeling, that tentativeness in even the things that seem so simple now, like navigating three stairs up and three stairs down.

Proprioception is the body's ability to process information about its orientation or position at any given time. Our muscles, skin, joints and tendons have proprioceptor cells that tell our brain where each part is in relation to the other parts - signals are sent and our muscles react quickly to any change in position in order to stabilize and maintain the body's balance. Pretty nifty, eh?

A few of my favorite balance training aids are in the picture - my stability ball (which unfortunately is too big and I need a smaller one), my wobble board, my core disk, one of my yoga blocks... and a Bible. A Bible, hmmm.

The Bible tells us that "bodily exercise profits a little" - which isn't saying it is a waste of time. It is saying it DOES have profit. After all, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is a precious gift from God. We should be taking care of it by feeding it well and exercising regularly. But what about our spirits? 1 Timothy 4:8 says, 'For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come."

Exercising our spiritual stability is, therefore, extremely important. Ephesians 4:14 tells us that, "we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting." It goes on to say that our aim is to "speak the truth in love and grow up in all things into Him, Christ the head."

With Joel Osteen visiting my area with his watered-down gospel of prosperity, with Rick Warren and his New Age-influenced "Purpose Driven" series still selling scads of books -- it is high time to wake up and pray for wisdom and direction from the Holy Spirit, high time to use that most precious of stability tools - the Bible. We are in a position where we absolutely must exercise discernment. We must be on our toes and beware because false teachers don't all look like David Koresh, telling us to stock pile weapons and sleep with him, or like Jim Jones getting us ready to have communion with some cyanide Kool-aid. False teachers are on the 6 o'clock news or smiling to Barbara Walters, they're on Larry King Live promoting their #1 beststellers-- wolves in sheep's clothing - they sound like they're alright, look like they're alright - on the surface, that is. It's time to open the ears to the Holy Spirit and allow corrections.

While those guys are saying "peace, peace" and offering a feel-good gospel of prosperity and political correctness, the Bible tells us in James 1 that not only will we have trials, but we're to "count it all joy" because "you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work , so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (Sounds like exercise, doesn't it?) A bit further and after telling us that if we lack wisdom, we need to ask for it, we are told that when we ask, "we must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Therefore, in order to have spiritual stability we need to exercise discernment and faith. We also must be listeners AND doers (ch. 2)

My personal challenge to myself this week is to work on my spiritual stability with greater priority than I work on my physical stability. Why is it that I get carried away with other things, when I know deep down what is the most important thing... I don't know, but...just like my body's system of proprioceptor cells bring neuromuscular awareness which continually works at keeping me upright, the Holy Spirit is making positional corrections, too.

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