Our bodies and our spirits are much more similar than I had previously thought.
Today in Sunday school we were discussing the importance of the sacrament, why we have it weekly, and it got me thinking.
Our bodies are performing a continual balancing act, between the amount of force we exert, or exercise, and the need to conserve energy. Muscles don't just appear and make us look good, we develop muscle as we apply resistance. I've been riding bikes with my family recently, and the first time we rode an 8 mile loop around our town, I was dead tired and filled with rage when we got back, but just a few days ago when we rode it again, no rage and a good worked out feeling.
I made my body perform at a higher level than it was used to, and it adjusted to meet that demand. If I were to go on 8 mile bike rides every day, or try to do the 8 miles faster, then my body would adjust more quickly.
Our spirit gets exercise by learning truths, following promptings, praying and getting answers, etc. . . Except I think that it's nearly impossible for us to strike a balance between activity and inactivity, spiritually. We are either growing, learning and progressing or we are lapsing into atrophy. One purpose of God calling prophets to direct the church on earth is to push us to continually exercise our spirit. The job of the church is to get us to expand our spiritual capabilities. Our spirit does not have the same physical limitations that our body does, and therefore we can continue to learn and increase our understanding and perception of the world around us, forever.
Taking the sacrament is a weekly reminder for us to improve ourselves. When we take the sacrament we renew our covenants and commit ourselves to do better. If we really want to get more out of it each week, then we put in effort during the week to improve, and then the sacrament on Sunday has greater personal meaning.
On the flipside, if we just think about repenting during the 6 minutes that sacrament takes place, then it will become an empty routine. Our minds will get bored and will start to wander. We will see church as a chore, a set of well-meaning rules that don't work out in real life. Eventually we just stop going to church, then we start forgetting things we've learned, and on and on.
For our bodies to stay healthy, they need exercise. They need something to push against, to make them tired, to make muscles grow. For our spirits to be healthy, they need to constantly be learning, stretching, growing. Taking the sacrament every week to renew covenants is a good place to start.
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