One of the things that I most appreciate about the our local North Vancouver Recreation Commission ‘Play Card’ is that it gives me access to nine weight rooms in 5 different locations. While I do value the other North Vancouver weight rooms, I must admit that the Parkgate Weight Room is a strong preference. I like the spaciousness of it, the diversity of equipment, and the friendly people.
One of my strongest motivations for going regularly to the Parkgate Gym is that it really helps reduce my intermittent neck pain. It is interesting how often physical aliments have parallels in the spiritual realm. Being stiff-necked can sometimes be both a physical and a spiritual reality. Twenty years ago while at a renewal conference in Anaheim, the Lord spoke to me about my need to repent over my stiff neck. Rather than make excuses, I decided to agree with the Lord, and be willing to change. God did a deep work in me that I will never forget, teaching me how to be more surrendered to God’s will in my life.
I had no idea how serious the spiritual ‘stiff-necked’ condition was, until I read through the bible, finding nine references to this affliction.
In Exodus 32:9, the Lord said to Moses: “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people”. One of the main reasons why God made the Moses’ followers wait forty years before entering the Promised Land was the problem of their stiffneckedness (Deuteronomy 9:6) God’s solution in 2 Chronicles 30:8 was “Be not stiff-necked as your fathers were, but rather yield yourselves to the Lord and enter his sanctuary.” Being stiff-necked seems to be a generational condition, as Stephen mentioned in Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked…, you are just like your fathers. You always resist the Holy Spirit.”
My family has physically suffered from stiff necks for generations. That is why we have often turned to physiotherapists, chiropractors, and menthol rub. Regularly going to the Parkgate Gym appeals to the frugal part of myself, because I estimate that I am actually saving money on medical bills by preventative maintenance. By working out regularly and using a neck-stretching machine, I have significantly reduced headaches, and the need for aspirin or Tylenol.
The Good Book says in 1 Timothy Chapter 4: “Exercise daily in God: no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts at the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today, and forever.” The Bible is pro-exercise, but realizes that physical exercise will only take you so far. That is why the famous YMCA Red Triangle stands for Spirit, Mind, and Body. All three parts needs exercising, not just the physical!
Bishop Tom Wright commented: “The last time I made a serious effort to get physically fit, I had a specific purpose in mind. We were about to launch into a complicated move of house, and I knew that I was going to be on my feet all day for a long time, carrying boxes, books, pictures and goodness knows what else. I was going to be climbing ladders and moving furniture, not to mention sorting out a garden. I needed to go into training, and I did. It worked. I really ought to be doing it again now…”
I remember several years ago moving and unpacking what felt like a thousand boxes! If it wasn’t for my years of training at the Parkgate Gym, I would have been stiff necked and aching everywhere. But instead I felt fit and free.
But it is not enough to be physically fit, while letting our spiritual life go flabby. Have you ever thought of the Church as God’s Gymnasium? Would you like God to remove a few kinks in your stiff neck? My prayer for those reading this article is that we would exercise the whole person, in Spirit, Mind, and Body.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector,
BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.
It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).
Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.
Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version. You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.
To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.
– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.
-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide : Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada
You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide