For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8
Through the years with the assistance of research, doctors and scientist have found that exercise is important for the human body. It is exercise that keeps our bodies functioning properly and it is exercise that helps our body to heal. Exercise is referenced a number of times in the Bible, but the central theme is always that we need a solid spiritual routine in combination to our physical routines.
One such example comes out of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, which states, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
As a young child I got interested in how the human body worked. To my amazement, as I learned about the intricate functions of the body, I began to see the masterful craftsmanship of God. While you are reading this article pause for just a second to try a few things if you are able: First take a long deep breath in and slowly let it back out. Next, place your hand before your face and simply wiggle your fingers around. And finally slowly stand to your feet and then slowly sit back down in your chair.
I could spend the rest of the article talking about the hundreds of “things” that took place in your body in order for you to perform those simple tasks, but for the sake of this article I want you to simply reflect on how easy or maybe how difficult it was to do those three things.
When we are born we take our first breath outside of our mother’s body, with time our brain begins to develop and the sophistication of movement begins to take place, and of course the highly anticipated day arrives when we can stand on our own. Taking both 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and 1 Timothy 4:8 into consideration, it is God’s desire for us to grow and develop physically, but the important area of development that many skip over is becoming spiritually strong.
Just as the Great Commission directs, I have always tried to make my first job in life to share the love of God with those people around me, but God has also gifted me in helping people with their physical health. People may be looking to get stronger, lose weight, or to improve a weakness from disease, but each have the goal of achieving a better quality of life.
A similar question came up to Jesus once. In Matthew 28, Jesus is asked how eternal life could be inherited. Keep in mind that these people’s inquiry was not only one looking for a way to live forever on earth, but a life that could be inherited after their earthly life. If you reference Luke 10:27 you will find this Jesus saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.’”
As I conclude this column I want you to visualize with me that you have set your sights on becoming a great athlete. Each morning you wake up early to start your strict schedule of training. You push yourself to the limit with hopes that you can push yourself a little further than you did yesterday. Every small detail of your performance is evaluated, critiqued, and fine-tuned. Everything that you subject your body to is scripted and evaluated for the purpose of not hindering your progression.
All the activities of the day are planned around your training. Nothing goes into your schedule that is going to tear down, interfere, or mess up the progress you have made in your training. At the conclusion of the day you re-evaluate your day. You go over every small detail of what happened. You start to plan for tomorrow, refining what went wrong during the day and adding to the next day items that will make you the best!
I want to encourage you as I conclude this article to evaluate where you are as an athlete for God. Do you have a plan of how to continue to train in a way that God wants you to live? Can you, as Paul said, leave everything of today behind and press on toward the goal ahead? And finally can you look to God for help as you throw off all that hinders you and push to be the best child of God as possible? I pray this week you are blessed in your activities and your life is filled with blessings.
God bless you.
Rev. Ewell Vernon is pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church in Lowgap.