by Andrea Stock
“Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV
Is exercising useless? After reading the beginning of 1 Timothy 4:8, it’s tempting to believe that. But Paul, the writer of 1 Timothy, is by no means suggesting that exercise is useless. On the contrary, he is simply making a comparison between being physically fit and spiritually fit. Paul does not deny that exercise is good for some things–things such as your physical and mental wellness. Instead, Paul emphasizes that spiritual exercise which produces godliness is more beneficial because godliness is profitable for all things.
In fact, spiritual exercise requires many of the same traits as physical exercise. You must possess determination, endurance, and discipline and you must be willing to sacrifice for your goal.
“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–Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJV
When attempting to grow spiritually, it is not enough to merely want to do something, you must take action. Be ready and willing to go the extra mile.
“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14 NKJV
Set daily goals for prayer time and devotions. Do not become distracted by past failures, but stay focused on your daily goals and the eternal prize.
“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.” 1 Corinthians 9:26-27a NKJV
Daily practice self-control and receive training from God’s Word, pastors, and fellow Christians.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24 NKJV
Growing spiritually will often require you to choose between worldly pleasures or eternal treasures. For positive results, the choice is simple–follow Christ.
If you want to mature spiritually, you must exercise spiritually. This year, determine to develop godliness… Work out your faith!