Conditioning was always a word that brought dread and stress into my life in high school. Conditioning meant that it was July and in the hot humid late afternoons of Ohio, those planning on playing football that Fall would be gathered together on the practice field to run multiple laps around the field and run 10 to 50 yard suicides and if the coach thought you were loafing, you might get to run a 100 yard suicide! This was conditioning. This was to get you into shape to prepare you for the football season. Your stamina was being conditioned.


Conditioning comes in many forms. In the mid 2000’s we saw fuel prices soar to around $4 a gallon. Did they need to be that high for the oil companies to make money? No, oil companies reported record profits at that time. We were being conditioned to paying an outrageous price so that when the price of a gallon of fuel dropped below $3 a gallon, we felt like we were getting a fair price. The same thing is happening today. Some places here in California are seeing gas prices near $7 a gallon. Exxon reported record profits again! So, now when gas prices drop to around $5 or $6 a gallon, people are conditioned to accept it.


We see conditioning in the entertainment industry. Movie and television writers will add things to shows to push the envelope of what censors will allow. Often, they will put things in that the censors would never allow. Then they will agree to remove it in order to offer a “compromise” for something questionable that they really wanted to include. Many of the songs today include lyrics that were not commonplace even 20 years ago.


Our society has been conditioned to accept sinful activity as normal. Culture is so steeped in self-satisfaction, that people’s hearts become hardened to the things that draw them together as a community. News media bombards us with divisive stories. People have been conditioned to support whatever their preferred political party has as an agenda, no matter how it affects our society.


This leads us to the conclusion that if we want to see things improve, we need to take control of our own conditioning. We need to stand up for the morals and values that come from the Bible. God is the author of life so it stands to reason that He would know the right way we should live! There are multiple passages in the Bible that give us direct instructions on how we can condition ourselves to have a positive impact on those around us. Jesus said that we are to love our enemies. Imagine how many conflicts would be defused if one party flatly refused to be a part of it. We are told to speak the truth in love. Think how relationships would improve if we all spoke from the motivation of love and never from the desire just to be right. In the book of James, we are told to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Think about how all of society could be uplifted if we all listened to one another in order to understand each other, and not merely form a response to what was being said.


Friends, we condition ourselves in so many ways; we need to condition ourselves spiritually. Just like we feed our bodies daily, we need to feed our spirit daily. Many people make time for a physical workout every day, we need to make time for a spiritual workout every day. In this way we will be conditioning ourselves to stand for God and His word and not allow ourselves to be conditioned by the negative influences that surround us.


Read Philippians 4:4-9