The saying has been expressed many ways.

In the computing world, for instance, it has gone by the acronym GIGO – “Garbage In, Garbage Out” – meaning, if you get a nonsense response from your computer, it’s most likely because of faulty programming.

But as most people understand, it goes by the saying: “You are what you eat” (usually expressed in the inner voice of a mother or some other ever-present Jiminy Cricket-esque auxiliary conscience figure, while you are licking orange cheese dust from your fingers or wondering how that entire slice of chocolate cake found lodging within your belly.)

While obviously no one has ever literally turned into chocolate cake, a diet rich in junk food will eventually, given enough time, produce results your waistband will not be able to deny or rationalize away, not to mention your heaving lungs as you try to catch your breath from even moderate physical activity.

As Pastor Bryan shared with us this week, the same principle holds true with the less physical, more spiritual side of our existence.

So often, we find ourselves on the receiving end of some kind of seemingly insurmountable obstacle, or constantly failing a challenge or falling prey to temptation we can’t seem to shake. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, we find ourselves out of breath, out of shape, out of commission, constantly under the gun, or worse, under the boot, squashed like bugs.

Why?

Just as you will find yourself eventually struggling for air when climbing even a small staircase if we spend our days planted on a couch, in front of the television, a bowl of salty, greasy, sugary snacks in our laps, so, too, we allow our spiritual selves to be shaped by harmful, toxic elements.

For so many of us, this could be our history and backgrounds, aspects of our family and our past that have long defined us as someone unworthy, or somehow less. For many others, these shaping elements come from the relationships we now embrace, with people, events, organizations, that weigh on us like anchors. And for many others, it comes from the things on which we choose to think: The media and information we take in, and allow to dominate our every waking moments.

The Bible tells us this was never God’s plan. As children of God, we were never intended to be weaklings, unable to accomplish even the simplest tasks or to surmount the easiest obstacles.

But, just as the first step to reclaiming physical fitness involves setting down the snacks and getting off the couch, so, too, God calls us to lay aside our current way of thinking, our current way of viewing the world, our current approach to relationships, and even our past – the things we have allowed to define us for so long – and instead allow Him to define us through His Word.

Today, we encourage you to accept the challenge. Exchange the spiritual junk food of this world, the intoxicating toxins you think you need, for the pure, nourishing bread of God’s Word and the rejuvenating living water that flows from time spent in prayer, worship and fellowship with the Creator Himself.

Today, choose to take your eyes off the people who will always disappoint and who will only hold you back and keep you down. Set your eyes and your thoughts on Jesus, and allow Him to begin to shape and mold you into the conqueror God has always intended for you to be.

Wait on the Lord, and get ready, because the day will come quickly when you will find yourself no longer lethargic and wheezing, but soaring like eagles, running and not growing weary, walking and not tiring.

Take the first step. Let’s run.