“Because You Are My Inspiration”

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou

It started out as a normal Saturday, except this Saturday, I was to meet a friend for a long 4-mile walk.  I hadn’t seen her in a few months and so we were going to catch up on things.  She has been my running buddy for the last two years so my plans were for a nice walk.  She then texted me Friday night and told me that she was unable to make it for Saturday, that she had some other things to do; which is not a problem for me because many of my friends live busy lives as I do.  So, I decided to take the walk anyway and spend some time with my awesome dog Buddy.  Buddy is a great running dog, but he needs to learn how to walk, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to do some loose leash training with him.  I parked my car at the Humane Society of Memphis and crossed the street to the path that leads into Shelby Farms Park.  They have been doing some major construction there to improve the grounds, so to get the mileage I was looking for I park there.  About 10 minutes later as we were entering the park Buddy and I see this woman running with one of those running strollers with her baby tucked away inside.  Me, being a personal trainer and someone who has overcome some major weight and health issues said: “You are doing awesome!”, as she passes by me.  I wasn’t sure if she heard or even understood me, we have a melting pot of different nationalities in Memphis.  Three miles later I see the same woman struggling up a hill with that stroller and I was so proud of her determination, so I yelled, “Wooo hoooo, you are so doing awesome!”, very enthusiastically.  Then the humbling experienced happened, she said, “That’s because you are my inspiration, I read that article about you.”  I was in total shock and as she passed by, I was able to get out a thank you.  She was referring to one of the three articles that were written locally about my 242-pound weight loss.  I don’t write this blog to show how great I am, I’m not.  I am nothing special, just someone that was greatly blessed by making one step of faith to rocket me into a positon of inspiration.  I made some of the rightest choices in my life for two straight years to lose all that weight.  When that woman said that to me I wanted to stop and cry, it meant a lot to know that I may have changed one person’s life for the better.  It doesn’t take much to inspire, all you have to do is lean a lot, learn a lot, love a lot to live a lot.

Leaning on God is where it all begins.  Leaning is steps of faith and trust that will find us God’s favor in our lives.  For me leaning was realizing that I did not have enough will power in myself to overcome all that weight.  I needed God’s intervention and I found it with some awesome people he put in my path that got me started.  I consecrated time every day to spend with Him as well.  Leaning made the most important part of my transformation, change on the inside.

The next is learning from God gives us wisdom.  I went to school on what I was dealing with.  I learned about the different causes of congestive heart failure.  I found that my enemy was myself and the poor eating choices I made, and the lack of exercise that I needed every day.  I also learned about God as I spent more time with Him.

Loving God, ourselves, and others is probably the biggest game changer in my life.  God wants us to put Him first in our lives.  Then He wants us to look in the mirror and love the creation that we see before us in a healthy way.  I’m not talking about a selfish love that only focuses on you and what you can get out of life.  I am talking about selfless love that asks what can I do to change my life and the life of others, what is my purpose in this life?  I want to continue to inspiring people to change by being a personal trainer and teaching them healthy way to live.

The last point is living your life to its fullest.  You can’t do that without point number three, loving.  Loving makes us life giving.  When we are life giving we are being like God, which is a good thing.  God always take a tragic situation and turns it around to be something of a blessing.  We have to look for it and expect it.  That’s how we should be in our lives, loving and living as much as we can, because life is short and hard, but we only make it harder if we allow ourselves to take every hardship as a negative experience.  I took my physical heart issue and turned it into a way to live a longer healthier life.  Always look for and expect the awesome to happen, when something bad comes around in your life.

Being an inspiration takes leaning on God, learning wisdom from God, loving like God, and living the abundant life God provides when we take Him into our lives.  I can’t guarantee that you will walk past someone and have them tell you what you did for them, but you will find out one day, that’s that treasure of heaven, all the souls you touched in your life, all the people you inspired.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015

Using Fear In a Leap of Faith

Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing.  They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land!  And if the lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us.  It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.  Do not rebel against the lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us!  They have no protection, but the lord is with us!  Don’t be afraid of them!”  Numbers 14:6-9

I’m sitting in a hospital surgical waiting room, waiting on my Dad to come out of surgery.  He fell and broke his ankle during the bitter winter this year.  He is 86 years old and is in great shape for his age.  I come from a family that lives long lives.  I try not to let worry or fear incapacitate me and keep me from God’s best for my life.  We all face giants, mountains, and giant mountains in our lives; you are not on God’s path if it’s smooth sailing all the time.  I wish can say life is easy, but if we think about it, do we really desire easy?  It’s nice to have a break occasionally. Discomfort builds character and sometimes God can amaze us as we realize the capacity of what we are able to do when we overcome giants and mountains.

I have blogged a lot on the subject of courage, but I have not blogged on fear as much.  Fear is the opposite of courage of course, but fear has a way of making courage happen.  Fear is the evil cousin to courage, seven times removed.  If used properly it can propel us into acts of courage that we never knew we had.  It can be a great influence in our lives, or suck the energy out of you.  It all depends on how you respond to fear and your choices.  In numbers Joshua and Caleb were faced with a dilemma, they saw Jericho as something that God could overcome, not something they themselves could overcome.  In most cases, the consensus is not always the right way to go.  Moses sent 12 spy’s out to look at what was to be faced.  10 returned with a scary negative report, Caleb and Joshua came back with a faith filled report.  They were not being just positive; God backed up their positivity.  Fear in control is courage.  I think we focus a lot on how to overcome fear, we don’t focus on how to use fear to bring us to courage.

The consensus of Israel were self-conscious therefore, they were incapacitated in their fear.  They were looking from a human perspective on what could be done, not a God perspective.  Joshua and Caleb were looking from a God-conscious and so they had control over their fear.  The first part of a leap of faith is to realize that God gives us the life.  He gives us the strength to use fear as a source for momentum.  A positive life-giving attitude is the most amazing way to live.  It puts fear in the correct perspective.

The next part of the leap is lift.  God-consciousness gives us the lift we need in the faithful leap.  The momentum we have is lasting to get us over the leap.  Joshua and Caleb were looking back at what God had done for them and how God saved Israel.  How quickly their faith was interrupted by unhealthy fear.  Faith gives us the momentum to maintain the leap.  When we are self-conscious, we have no wind in our sails.  Taking our focus off the source of our momentum will have us sinking like Peter.

God gives us the life.  He gives us the lift.  The last part of God-conscious is love.  Love from God and love back to God.  Gratitude and thanksgiving that overflows into others’ lives.  Unconditional love will get you to the finish line of faith.  I’m sure this is a different way for me to share this awesome truth, but for some reason this type of teaching is sticking with me this year.  Faith is my word for this year, so you will see many faith posts from me.  Right now Dad has been in surgery for two hours, I am not going to allow fear to incapacitate me, I know God has an awesome plan and that He will come through as He always does.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Drawing a Line In the Sand

“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.  There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.”  ~ Ephesians 4:4-6 SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

As I was driving the interstate last week to meet a fellow blogging friend, I was thinking about how I was going to present this post.  After all, I am not one to present convictions because I am facing 50 pounds that have somehow found their way back on to my body.  One of my new convictions was never go back where I came from as far as my weight; and look at what has happened.  It’s good for me to sit here and be very transparent because there is something very real and freeing about being truly honest.  I am reminded of my own words of wisdom found from the Holy Spirit and that is we all are works in progress and are still living in the flesh.  Not that grace is an excuse to do wrong, but it’s motivation to do right because of what Jesus did for us on the cross to give us that grace.  Therefore, I give myself some grace and realize that I have had a difficult last year and this year is starting tough already.  I know I will overcome this weight, go back to where I was, and stay there.  I am a mere fraction of what I once was and the internal transformation that changed my outside is still there intact.  As we grow closer to God convictions become a part of our lives.  In relationships, we want to be true to one person.  Spiritually we have a desire to keep reading God’s word and pray every day.  Vocationally we want to do the best job we can and are happy where God has placed us.  These are some general ideas for convictions.  The verse shows that God is a god of convictions and we should live by convictions.  The world in general doesn’t live by convictions.  The definition of conviction is a firm belief, no clever argument; no persuasive fact could make a dent in the rightness of your position.  I would say that conviction is the honest courage to live what you believe and support.  Ephesians 4:4-6 shows us the spiritual positions or convictions we should have as part of our lives.

There is one body and Spirit.  We only have one body; we need to take care of it until God’s purpose for our life is over.  The body and Spirit are part of the one, you.  When you accept Christ in your life, the Holy Spirit becomes part of your being.  We don’t want to take our Body Temple and use it in an unworthy manner.  Nor should we not take care of that body.  You will find purpose when you are taking good care of yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct you.

When you take care of your Body Temple, you have a hope for a glorious future.  God’s purpose in your life can be the most exciting adventure you can ever undertake.  It can be rough and tough, but God teaches you to lean on Him and to keep your focus on the hope He has for you.

There is one Lord.  There can be only one Lord and He is Jesus.  A pastor I once knew used to say, “Either Jesus is Lord of all, or He’s not Lord at all.”  Jesus doesn’t want us worshiping other idols in our lives.  Idol worship these days are things that can keep us from being focused on Jesus.  Anything that detracts from Jesus is an idol.  Is Jesus Lord of your life?

There is one faith.  One faith is not religion, but one relationship that counts and will help all relationships that you acquire in your lifetime.  The church should be unified on these spiritual convictions; if it’s not then it’s not God’s church.  Faith is putting our trust in the blood work Jesus did on the cross for us, so that we can have the ultimate relationship and that is with God our father.

There is one baptism.  No, this doesn’t mean you have to be Baptist.  There is only one type of baptism that signifies that you are His; baptism means immersion.  It’s a celebration that is publically made to show whose you are so you can become who you need to become.  When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon Him right after He came back up out of the water.  For us baptism of the Holy Spirit can come right away or later on in our Christian walk.  Baptism of the Holy Spirit is when we have a clear direction from God in our lives and changes the whole purpose for our life.

There is one God and father of all.  God is the center most conviction in our spiritual life.  He of course is the head of everything.  Paul says He is over all, in all, and living through all.  I believe the all that he is talking about is all Christians.  Not only is God over all, in all, and living through all, He loves us all.  God’s power comes from His great love.

We start with the basic spiritual convictions that God has set up.  There is one body and spirit, hope and a future, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God.  These basics of faith are what can build other convictions in our lives as we grow closer to God.  Convictions say who you are and whose you are, and what you stand for.  They draw a line in the sand that no one can cross.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.

The Four Levels of Gut Check Time

“So be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the lord your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.  Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.  We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”  ~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is a great example of courage.  She was an amazing woman that overcame unmerciful circumstances that would have destroyed a lesser individual.  At the age of seven her mother’s boyfriend molested her and her uncles killed this boyfriend as vengeance for what he did to her.  She was so traumatized by the incident, she became a mute.  Still she became an author, poet, actress, dancer, screenwriter, and most important, a civil rights activist.  Courage to overcome was something she found within herself, not something she was born with.  As she points out in her quote, we are all born with potential, potential to become more than what we seem to be.  The potential she speaks of is potential from our great and awesome God.  As Christians we are called to live a life of courage, to overcome our fears and realize that God is in control if we allow His control in our lives.  We initiate courage when we overcome our fear and use it as fuel to move us forward.  Back in 1972, according to Webster’s, the term “gut check time” was first used and has become a staple in our sports community to express seeing where you are in your courage as a team and an as individual.  There are four levels to a gut check; trust, faith, hope, and love.

The first level to gut check time is trust.  One example for me in gut check time is driving roads that are icy and difficult to drive on.  Here in the mid-south we don’t experience a lot of snow and ice, but when we get it, we are pretty much shut down.  My experience with snow and ice removal comes from living 30 years in Chicago.  One thing I can say about that town is they know how to safely remove snow and ice to make the roads passable within a two-hour turnaround.  Here it seems to be the opposite thought, and the drivers are either too dangerous or too cautious when they drive.  The initial level is trust; I trust my driving ability to get me from point A to point B without losing control of my vehicle or loss of life.  Also as an added bonus as a Christian, I have God who not only will protect me, but will give me strength with the courage to drive the roads safely and to see the unexpected before it becomes too late.  Trust in your abilities and with God can give courage and move you past the fear that can fuel us forward if we channel it correctly.

The next level of gut check time is faith.  Faith of course is an antonym to fear.  When we take our fear and move forward anyway, that is a leap of faith.  One of my favorite courage quotes is from John Wayne, he said, “Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”  That is faith’s forward focus.  Though we can’t see the outcome we can move forward in faith that God will protect our choices and keep us on His path for our lives.

Faith’s forward focus gives us our next level of gut check time, hope.  There is the hope that the outcome is going to be good.  That our path won’t end in failure, but triumph.  Stumbling and failing may be along the path, but it’s to teach us and to prepare us for the good that will be at the end of the road.  When we place our hope in God, our gut check is going to be very courageous.

The top level of courage is love.  When I’m speaking of love, I am talking about the purest love of all and that is unconditional love.  Unconditional takes the selfish out of love.  Talk about gut check, that means I am putting others needs in front of my own needs.  It means I am thinking last about myself and first about others.  Being born as selfish and sinful people, we do have the potential for this type of love.  As Maya Angelou said in her quote, we will be kind, true, merciful, generous, and honest.  The potential for unconditional love gives us those virtues and the guts to move in that direction.

The four levels of gut check time are, first we have trust, we have faith, we have hope, and finally love.  As the bible says love is the greatest of all.  Love is the highest level of courage and takes some major guts to use it unconditionally, but if you do, all of your relationships, from friend to significant other, will all flourish and will have less theatre.  It’s gut check time, and your purpose is in the balance.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Climbing the Mountain Part 8: Pushing Through Persecution

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  ~ Matthew 5:10-12

“It is not enough to have a vision, you need a strategy.”  ~ Bishop T.D. JakesPhoto: Mount Everest's peak in morning light

The final be attitude is the most important one, which is being persecuted because of righteousness.  As we climb up the mountain of faith there are going to be obstacles that get in our way.  The Greek meaning of persecute is to pursue with great haste, to apprehend.  The negative connotation is to pursue to kill and destroy with great haste.  I believe the persecution Jesus is referring to here is not only religious persecution, but personal, people, and enemy persecution. There are three tactics to deal with each of these types of attacks.  T.D. Jakes has a ministry that has grown from 100 to 30,000 members and he began this awesome ministry in a small storefront.  I was so inspired this morning in seeing him talk about how he started preaching to an empty church, but was so tenacious with his trust in what God had for his path.  At this moment, I am faced with going from three clients at the beginning of the year, down to one.  The world would say, “David you need to try something different, why are you wasting your time?”  I went through some very difficult doubt this week and learned that the best strategy to deal with doubt is not to look for encouragement from others, which is great, but to find it within myself.  Doubt is a lonely road that will have you shaken internally, but not eternally.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and nothing anyone does, no obstacle will keep you from His will for your life.  I have the vision; I am formulating a strategy to move to the next level of the mountain of faith, to get to the top of my Everest.

When you stand firm with Christ you are going to face persecutions and you have to formulate a strategy to deal with obstacles when you are climbing your faith Everest.  The Kingdom of Heaven is at the top of the mountain.  Self-doubt is a personal persecution that has to be overcome with any type of success.  The first strategy when faced with this persecution obstacle is to find encouragement within you to get through the obstacle.  The only time we should look down is just to see how far we have gone.  Yesterday you were at this point, today due to growth, you are now set free from yesterday, and so you will be set free today with the seemingly impossible block to your climb.  Courage is fear under control and faith put into practice.  When faced with that hindrance, look to your positive past. Don’t give ground to negative doubt, give ground only to positive thoughts.  Encourage yourself.

The next tactic to get past our deterrent is to get counsel from close friends.  People will tell you that you are a fool for what you are aiming for, close friends are going to tell you that if you dream it, you can achieve it.  Most people when they are climbing a difficult mountain have a team along with them.  Sometimes it takes a team to get past a difficult rock facing.  Your inner circle of friends will always be truthful to you and should be trustworthy to take counsel from; they should be godly.  Answer people persecution with people encouragement.

The final obstacle we face is spiritual opposition or persecution.  The enemy will come at you with negative ideas built within your own self-doubt.  If you allow the enemy a foothold in your life, you will look down and not see your progress, but will see all the other tough things you have had to deal with going up the mountain.  Instead of energy, you will find weariness and want to quit and throw in the towel.  A positive glance back is all we need, if we keep looking down fear will overcome your courage and faith will weaken.  Always look back up the mountain, focus on God’s promises, claim the truths of His word, and know you will overcome this, because He helped you overcome obstacles before.

As a final reminder the tools we need to get up the Everest of our faith begins with your hope rope.  The next tool is your harness of comfort to give you stability as you climb.  Your strong arms and legs will help you overcome gravity.  A determined spirit, a set goal, a dream to achieve will be the first internal tool.  Another internal tool is the very act of climbing and moving up the mountain, mercy moves us into action.  The correct clothing, be clothed in purity to stay strong.  The next internal tool to get up to the top is peace.  The final tool is what we just talked about, using a strategy to move around hindrances to climbing the mountain.  We will have them three ways: personal self-doubt, people, and from the enemy.  We answer them with personal encouragement, people encouragement, and God encouragement.  Equip yourself with these things and attitudes and you will make it to the top of your Everest.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Climbing the Mountain Part 7: Peacemaking 101

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”~Matthew 5:9

“First keep peace with yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.”~Thomas a KempisPeace and Love Flower Power Groovy Psychedelic Notebook Doodles Set Stock Vector - 17149785

The seventh be attitude that Jesus talks about is that of peacemakers.  As we ascend the mountain, we have to have peace with our bodies for us to make it to the top.  Thomas a Kempis was an early 15th century monk, priest, writer, and theologian.  The Imitation of Christ was a famous Christian devotional book that he was credited for writing.  It’s not known for sure if he was the author.  He lived a peaceful life in a monastery, so he understood what the power of peace could bring to people’s lives.  Peace is God’s greatest work in our lives.  He helps us to achieve this peace when we are on His path for our lives.  As I write this blog, I am sitting here watching the Super Bowl, and I have a belly full of junk food that is irritating my stomach.  That is not peace with my body.  As I watch some of these the greatest athletes play a physically grueling game, I am seeing quiet confidence in action.  Peace is quiet confidence that begins on the inside.  Some think of it as cockiness, but it really isn’t, if you are at peace with yourself, you are able to spread that peace to others.  Cockiness is fake confidence that has no backing.  When we aim for peace in our lives, we are imitating God in wanting peace to happen.  I like to think of personal training as helping people find peace with their bodies.  God always turns a bad situation into good especially for His children.  A peacemaker has several traits.

The first trait is being a humble and gentle person.  You can have the quiet confidence of piece in your life if you are humble and gentle.  Humility is knowing who you are in Christ and not flaunting it and being all spiritual about it.  You may be an amazing athlete or a great at something, but you don’t parade it in people’s faces, you just are you.  An example of fake humility is when someone gives you a compliment and you get all spiritual and say it was God that did it.  Yes, God may have been part of it, but you made the decision to make the steps to do it.  A simple thank you is all that is needed.  Gentleness is having a light spirit that is life giving to those around you.  It’s a strength that brings encouragement to others.  Humility and gentleness are always part of a peacemaker.

Trait number two is patience.  It takes patience to make peace.  When peace is in progress, there is always opposition that the enemy will use against you.  Being patient during these times will keep us on that road to peace.  The old saying haste makes waste is very true.  When can make hasty decisions when we are facing opposition, we are putting our will over that of God’s will.  Jesus when He was becoming overwhelmed with a tough prayer before He was arrested said; “Your will, not my will be done.”  Surrendering to patience is a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but is chief in the peace process.

The next trait is my favorite, unconditional love. There are no conditions for true peace.  Conditions make expectations; expectations will bring discord when aiming for peace.  You may think that I am saying to have low expectations, even if you have low expectations you still have them.  I’m saying have no expectations.  Peace is so easy when we don’t have expectations to begin with and it makes us forgiving people.  Unconditional is all about having a forgiving spirit rather than having an unforgiving spirit.

The last is unity with other brothers and sisters.  Peace comes about when we are in agreement with each other.  I’m not saying we are going to agree all the time, and when disagreement happens, unconditional love comes into play.  Agreeing to disagree is a way to end a dispute and find unity.  Unity is making our own bright light join with other bright lights that become a super bright light in the darkness of the world.  Unity is powerful and a product of peace.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be imitators of God, which is a good thing.  Peacemakers are humble and gentle, they have patience, unconditional love, and a unifying spirit knitted with other believers.  As Thomas a Kempis said, peace starts with you, and then spreads to others.  Be an awesome peacemaker, it’s a great be attitude.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Climbing the Mountain Part 6: Purity of Attitude Sends Us to a Great Altitude

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”~Matthew 5:8

“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in his holy place?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.”~Psalms 24:3-4On 8th January, unpredictable weather patterns, unseasonal temperatures and gale force winds didn’t stop Matt Helliker (pictured) and Nick Bullock - who managed to climb what is possibly a hard new mixed line on the Tour Ronde West Wall, Helliker’s second new route on this face. Photo: Nick Bullock

Our next piece of equipment to help get us up the mountain or the be attitude, is having a pure heart, or purity.  One of the most important things you need when climbing a mountain is the right clothing to keep you warm, yet mobile enough to keep moving up to the summit.  Purity’s favor is we see God when we have a pure heart.  I’m not saying we physically see God, but we see God’s work in our lives and the lives of those around us.  It’s discernment of what is going on in our world.  Therefore, when you are physically healthy and dressed appropriately for climbing the mountain, your situational awareness is sharper and your focus cannot be diverted.  To get our spirit man in line with our soul and our body we have to adopt some pure things to our lives.  The first seven chapters of I Samuel tells the story of the second to last judge of Israel and the beginning of the career of the last judge of Israel.  Eli the second to last judge is a perfect example of impurity out of control.  He had two sons that were putting extra burdens on Israel to get free food during a godly sacred ritual.  God allowed this scandal to go on for several years until Samuel was the right age to take over as judge over Israel.  Hanna’ Samuel’s mother, wanted a child so bad that she prayed to God that if He granted her that request, she would give Samuel for God to use.  She gave her son, when he was old enough, to Eli.  As time went on the day finally came when God allowed Israel to feel His judgment and so the Philistines defeated them and Israel lost the Ark of God.  The impurity that was in their midst caused great loss to Israel that day.  Eli’s sons were killed and when he heard the news of the Ark of God being taken, he died as well.  Samuel told Eli in prophesy that this was all going to take place.  The hope and light for Israel was Samuel.

One of the first things we need to do to work toward purity is limiting impure things into our lives.  I’m not going to list impure things here and get all legalistic, but I will say it’s anything that can distract us from God’s purpose in our lives.  Maybe ask yourself these questions, are the things that you allow in front of you, are they going to help you grow closer to God?  Are the relationships in your life leading you away from God or closer?  Do you live life with a set of godly convictions or are you out of control?  Keep in mind that you are a work in progress, so some of these things may not be right in your life right now, but you know what you have to do to correct them.  As you fill yourself with purity which is God’s word, prayer, spending time with God’s people, serving others, loving unconditionally, your spirit man will grow.  Eli allowed his sons to take advantage of the Israelites and so they were distracted from God’s goodness and found His judgment instead.

After we start moving our spirit man to purity, we need to work on our knowledge, our emotions, and our will.  In other words we need to work on our soul.  What we take into our lives is going to affect our soul.  Knowledge of God will move us toward purity; knowledge of trivia moves us to the trivial.  Eli failed to live by the godly convictions a judge of Israel should live by and so he allowed his sons to desecrate God’s alter every time someone came to give a sacrifice.  Sure, they had knowledge of God, but they lacked the convictions to know they need to fear God as well and keep what He had set up sacred.  The knowledge we store up in us will determine our emotions.  Our emotions will determine what our will is.  Worldly knowledge is good to know, but is trivial in comparison to godly knowledge which is gold.

Starting with our spirit man being developed we set our attitude to get us to a higher altitude.  Next, our soul is the correct clothing we need to wear in order to climb safely up the side of the mountain.  The last part or our trinity is the body.  What you eat and drink in daily living as a climber is as equally important as to what you do when you are not a mountain climber.  How you train your body also will determine if you can make it up to the top.  When you spirit is right, and your thinking is correct, your body needs the proper exercise and nutrition to help you be all that God wants you to be.  As I Corinthians 3:16 says our bodies are a temple to the Spirit of God.  We cannot desecrate God’s temple as Eli’s sons did.  Working to keep our temples healthy is a great way to steer clear from a future of health issues.  I can honestly say this is a serious battle in my own life after losing 242 pounds.  I still battle the old demons that got me to that weight.  It’s all in small beginnings that lead to great victories.

The great victory in this story of Samuel is that the Philistines were unable to keep the Ark of God.  After plagues to five cities over a 7-month period, the Philistines gave back the Ark of God to Israel.  There was peace with Israel for several years while Samuel was the judge.  Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, is true, but not legalistic.  We all are going to struggle with impurities in our lives, we all should have a under construction sign on us.  The encouraging thing is all we have to do is to aim for purity and we will find it, and if we fail along the way, we never lose the Ark of God that is in us and can never be taken from us.  Thanks to Jesus great and awful work on the cross, purity is easier to attain.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.