Have you ever gone to the gym and seen that man who you know only comes in MAYBE twice a year? He’s benching roughly sixty pounds, grimacing and grunting while he does it. He might then go to the treadmill and do a painful three minute jog at an exhilarating twenty minute mile pace, sweat pouring down his face. Last, but not least, he goes to the dumbbells and pumps out a solid seven reps with fifteen pound weights. Thoroughly exhausted, he walks out of the gym, having been there for a grand total of thirteen minutes and thirty four seconds, including the three water breaks. You know what the crazy thing is? The next morning, that man looks in the mirror and wonders why he isn’t as “ripped” as Thor or his friend who is at the gym every day.
Yeah, that man was me. I used to think, in some twisted way, that because I “worked out” every now and then I should look like the cartoon superheroes. You know, the ones that have the muscles bulging out more than humanly possible. Well, to my disbelief, I found that twice a year won’t get you a six-pack, and neither will once a week. You know what the hardest part for me to fathom was? You can exercise EVERY DAY and not eat right and you STILL won’t get a six-pack. It blew my mind. It takes diligence, discipline, determination, and a healthy diet.
Now, this isn’t going to be Elder Herrick’s workout and exercise blog; that wouldn’t be a good idea. The point I want to make is simple: To gain the greatest reward, you must put in your greatest effort. This is true for anything. In sports we always say “Practice makes perfect.” The same can be said for musical talents or any skill or hobby. So what about when it comes to things of a more personal, spiritual nature? How does one go to the spiritual gym? I will share three o the ways I have found.
The first way of going to the spiritual gym is through prayer. To keep the analogy, I guess you could say that prayer is like talking with your personal trainer and nutritionist. However, in reality it is so much more than that. God is more than some unknowable, unreachable being who is everywhere and yet nowhere, merciful yet indifferent. THAT is not God. God is your Father. He loves you and wants to hear from you DAILY. Yes, He is all powerful, all knowing, unchanging, merciful, and just. He is all of that and more, and yet, He wants nothing more than to hear from His child, namely, you. When you pray it is like a child going to his or her father and asking for help on his or her homework. He stands ready to bless us, if only we ask. Just like any parent though, He wants to hear from us more than when we are just in a time of need. What better way to get a spiritual six-pack than by prayer?
The second way of going to the spiritual gym is by reading the scriptures. I have always been told, “If you want to talk with God, say your prayers. If you want God to talk to you, read your scriptures.” Reading the scriptures can be compared to studying the exercise and nutrition plan given to you by your trainer. The scriptures are not just here to tell you what to do or what not to do. They are here to show us how to reach our fullest potential.
I had a personal trainer for about two weeks. I thought he was trying to KILL me. What he was really doing was trying to show me HOW to kill my lazy personality and reach my potential. It’s the very same thing with the scriptures. No, it’s not easy; neither is getting ripped.
The third way of going to the spiritual gym is just that, going and doing it. Talking with your trainer and studying the workout plan are fine and dandy but how long and how much will your trainer help you if you don’t actually go exercise? Here’s the thing, Heavenly Father will always love His children. However, that doesn’t mean they will always have His trust. Building that trust is like building your spiritual muscles. Simply put, we build His trust as we DO what He asks of us, whether that be repenting, going to church, helping those in need, or simply being a good example of a Christlike life. In short, we gain our Father’s trust as we become more and more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I know that no matter who we are or what our past may be, as we do these three things daily; pray to our loving Father in Heaven, Read the scriptures, and strive to do our best to become like His Son, we can build that spiritual six-pack and we will eventually be able to stand confident at the judgement bar of Christ. This I know and leave with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.