Atrophy refers to the process in which body tissue or organs slowly waste away often due to the degeneration of cells. Symptoms of atrophy include decay, deterioration, shrinking or withering away until human bodies no longer function as God designed them. When this condition is diagnosed, aggressive physical therapy is necessary to prevent further complications. Human beings are not the only things vulnerable to atrophy.
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come, 1 Timothy 4:8.
Belief, faith and spiritual disciplines can be attacked. Satan uses compromise, deceit, half-truths and lust to lull Christians into bad habits. If these patterns persists, it doesn’t take long for a fervent faith to be persuaded into following in the footsteps of the prodigal son. The apostle Paul uses the term bewitched in a letter to the church at Galatia. Like atrophy within the human body, initial signs are subtle. Yet, when minds begin to justify and rationalize wrong actions, spiritual atrophy can become aggressive.
Now before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, [perpetually] imprisoned [in preparation] for the faith that was destined to be revealed, 24 with the result that the Law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to Christ, so that we may be justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God] by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under [the control and authority of] a tutor and disciplinarian, Galatians 3:23-25.
A group known as the Judaizers had infiltrated this congregation. Clinging to religious traditions of Judaism, these zealots began to add conditions to salvation, confusing many of the new converts to faith in Christ. In the passage above, the apostle Paul explained the original purpose of the law. However, Jesus came to abolish the law, opening the door for freewill. Instead of forcing people to believe, God uses freewill to introduce grace, mercy and forgiveness to those who fully repent, turning away from sin and toward God. This is the cure to spiritual atrophy, taking time each day to pray, thank God and yield your life to Christ alone. Pursuing godliness is like therapy to overcome the affects of spiritual atrophy.
by Jay Mankus