For most people, the transition from one calendar year to another marks the perfect opportunity to do a little bit of self-reflection. Even if you aren’t necessarily the type of person to make new year’s resolutions, you might find yourself thinking more deeply about your life and priorities at this time of year than you otherwise would. As people reflect on their lives during these times, many people want to grow in the area of physical fitness, and rightly so! But we can also think of fitness not only in physical terms, but also in spiritual terms. That is exactly what we did last Sunday and what we will continue to do when we meet again together this upcoming Sunday.

            Whether speaking of physical or spiritual fitness, we all want to be fit, at least to some degree. And while most people would align with those desires, any one person’s motivation for that desire can be very different from another’s. Some people’s motives might be considered noble, while others less so. And what so many of us have learned through life experience is that our motivations are crucial to our success or failure in whatever we are trying to achieve. Today, I want to think about our motivations, particularly as they relate to spiritual fitness.

            Why would we want to be spiritually fit? Two very common motivations include self-righteousness (believing that we can make ourselves right with God through our obedience) and fear (believing that God will turn against us in judgement if we don’t obey). And while these motivations are certainly common, many of us already know from personal experience that they don’t actually make good motivators. Self-righteousness and fear can not fuel sustainable, long-lasting obedience to God from the heart. Invariably, these lead to stress, anxiety, selfishness, and a lack of love for others. Instead, Scripture tells us that the only true and lasting motivation for for righteousness is by resting in the completed work of Jesus and responding with thankfulness and gratitude. When we fully internalize the amazing grace of what God has done for us in Christ, we find that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18), and we find ourselves desiring to obey God joyfully, without any strings of self-righteousness or fear attached.

            The people who are most firmly rooted in the gospel—who have most deeply internalized everything that has been accomplished on their behalf in Christ and who know that they have nothing left to do before God—are actually the people who are most motivated to obey and who are most motivated to pursue spiritual fitness in all of its various forms. And so, as we consider our own spiritual fitness here at the turn of a new year, let us not only consider how we want to grow, but let us consider why we want to grow, and let us rest in the amazing grace of Jesus that motivates us rightly as we live lives of gratitude toward him!

All the best,


Prepare your heart for Sunday by reading the passage and listening to the songs we’ll sing.