Friday, December 8
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1-4
1 Timothy 4:7-8 Keep yourself in training for a godly life. 8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.
I love this translation of these verses. Paul tells young Pastor Timothy to exercise physically and spiritually, especially the latter.
We often talk about “spiritual disciplines.” I prefer the words used here: spiritual training, or spiritual exercise.
I’m an athlete and have always enjoyed physical exercise, and I can vouch from experience that “physical exercise has some value.” At 66, I have more energy than most of my contemporaries because I’ve exercised and stayed in shape. There are physical, mental, and emotional benefits to physical exercise. Keep moving! It’s worth it.
But physical exercise only has “some value” while spiritual exercise is “valuable in every way.” One is good only for this life, the other is good for this life and the life to come. Today, millions of people are aware of the benefits of physical exercise, and pay many millions of dollars for gym memberships, exercise equipment, and personal trainers. Most of these people are unaware of the value or need for spiritual exercise. Consequently, many of us have strong bodies and shriveled souls. We’re physically fit and spiritually flabby.
This is not an either/or. By all means, stay in shape physically. I do. But even more importantly in the long run, “Keep yourself in training for a godly life.” Do some spiritual cross-training! Add some new spiritual exercises to your routine. Build some new spiritual muscle and endurance. Just like our bodies adapt to our exercise routines and require us to do something new to grow, our spirits welcome new spiritual exercises that use some new muscles and force us to grow.
My assignment today is to identify a couple new spiritual exercises that I can add to my routine. I started one early in the year and it fell by the wayside, not because it wasn’t good, but because I got busy and neglected it. Time to up my game and do some spiritual cross-fit!
Prayer: Lord, help me to be as serious (or more) about my spiritual fitness as I am about my physical fitness. Show me some new spiritual exercises I can do that will make me sore!