I was listening to a pastor’s message on the Christian radio station in my area, and heard a familiar verse that some have used in a humorous way: "exercise profits little". But as I listened to his sermon, I began to hear and understand it in a whole new light.
I Timothy 4:8 says, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
Another translation puts it this way: "...physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things ..."
A brisk walk lowers blood pressure, lowers your cholesterol, and reduces stress on the body. Engaging in some form of regular physical exercise will generally add years to your lifespan. Exercise helps to reduce harmful chemicals in our bodies, and provides a form of abreaction (letting off steam), builds up stamina, counteracts the biochemical effects of stress, and reduces the risk of psychological illness.
I attend a local gym and wear a workout monitor belt using My Zone to track my physical exertion. It tracks your heart rate & is nearly equivalent to an EKG. It shows and rewards your effort (as a percentile) when you work out, as well as your calories burned. The intensity is displayed using color-coded zones. Time spent in each zone is converted into MyZone Effort Points (MEP's) which rewards you based on effort and not your fitness level.
Health and fitness are godly goals when they are balanced with common sense and right priority. In biblical times, physical exercise was not touted as necessary because people living in that time period generally walked everywhere and performed manual labor on a daily basis.
As Christians, sometimes we focus too much on programs, bible studies and the latest book craze for your prayer life or child rearing. All those things in and of themselves are a good thing, but they shouldn't be the main thing. Our spiritual exercise should consist of reading the Holy scriptures, spending time thanking God and conversing with Him on a regular basis, and practicing our godliness in our everyday lives. Our family, friends and co-workers should see the fruit of our spiritual workouts.
Verse 7 prefaces the previous passage with the following, “…and exercise yourself rather to godliness.”
Spiritually speaking, when we exercise godliness through prayer, Bible study, and self-control, we keep our spiritual man [woman] healthy. But what good is it if we take care of the physical body, but neglect our spiritual woman and coddle our sinful nature?
The eternal value is mentioned in verse 8. Paul makes it clear that whatever we are doing for the here and now is indeed profitable – even commendable, but that which is to come is of more value and lasting. Taking care of the spirit woman, which is incorruptible and lives forever, is far more important than maintaining a corruptible body that will slowly decay in this world.
Exercise is not my god, nor do I place my fate in its hands. Jesus is my God! Sure, I walk my dog every morning and I still go to the gym a few times a week to a Team workout class. I make it a point to stay active, eat right, and get a good night’s sleep. But for me, keeping my spirit woman healthy and fit is a higher, God-ordained priority.
Let God speak to you about your “spiritual workout". What type of changes could you make to minister to your spirit woman as you aim to better your physical woman?
Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It was written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion. It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. Visit http://www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com