If you step into a gym or weight room with thousands of pounds of weights and equipment around you, do you feel stronger just by being there? Maybe, if it brought up memories of your High School glory days. However, if you decided to pick up a moderately heavy pair of dumbbells and did a few curls or presses with them, you might feel a little sore the next day or so, but there wouldn’t be much of a long lasting effect. If you visited this same place 2-3 times each week and engaged in a thorough workout routine each time, your neighbors might start to be intimidated by your new physique. So, if getting others to admire or worship your body is not your end game, what is the point of working out?
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. I Corinthians 6:19-20
If you are like me, maybe you don’t hit the weight room as often as you did in High School, but still enjoy participating in different sports, running, or being physically active to stay in shape. Whether you seek out high level competition, enjoy the social aspect of sports, or just participate to feel healthy, there are many benefits to keeping physically active. In fact, whenever someone asks me what the best type of exercise, I usually tell them regular walking is something people of all ages can do for most of their lives, and when paired with a friend, provides a double benefit, as you talk out life issues as you walk. Whether you like a high intensity workout or just a change of pace to decompress from the day, our bodies were created in a way that responds to physical stress by increasing in strength and endurance. The saying is true, If we don’t use it, we lose it.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
The same principles that apply to our physical well-being also apply to our mental and spiritual health as well. When we are challenged to solve problems at work or home, we may feel tired at the end of the day, but our knowledge and abilities to solve similar problems should get better as we practice these things. When we learn a new program, subject, or piece of equipment, it may seem overwhelming at first, but the more we understand it, the more easily we can perform, then teach it to others. There is a learning curve in most everything we do. The more we read, build, pray, or run, the better our knowledge, strength, and endurance becomes in those things.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:11-12
If reading the Bible seems like a chore, chances are we really don’t do it that often. Maybe we have never taken up the challenge to improve in how regularly or how long we engage in a Word workout. Something as simple as a commitment to read or listen to the Word 15 minutes each day, or reading through the Bible in one year can help you see the return on this investment. The more we pray, the more natural it becomes. I used to think that a 20 minute prayer time was intensive, until I joined a friend in ministry for their weekly prayer meeting that lasted over 3 hours. We grow when we are challenged in most any aspect of our lives. None of us may be the best in the world at anything we do, but we all have the capacity to improve at most everything we do. Where do you feel God is asking you to exercise your faith and grow?
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. I Timothy 4:15-16
Yours in Christ,