For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ~1 Timothy 4:8
As this scripture clearly states…bodily training (physical exercise) is of SOME value. Our physical bodies were created in such a way BY GOD to need movement, rest, activity, and nourishment in order to be useful for God’s purpose. But we also see in this verse something else. Whereas physical exercise might be important in SOME ways, GODLINESS is valuable in EVERY way. If we glance at this too quickly, we might see this verse as saying something like: “Physical exercise in important but not as important as godliness which works our hearts.” That IS a component of what this verse is saying, but the way I read it (and I am no theologian) is this:
Although bodily training has some value in that it equips our physical body for God’s purposes, it cannot equip us spiritually. However, godliness is valuable to us in EVERY way..physically AND spiritually.
I know what you thinking…”Ok, so what you’re saying is that exercising “godliness” can help me take care of myself physically? Like exersise?!!!”
Yes, I believe that when we are practicing godliness-in ALL areas of our lives-we can become stronger in mind, spirit, and BODY.
How does this work? We will go more in depth into this in the coming weeks, but here are some thoughts to get us started.
1. Think about your current exercise routine. Is there a way you can turn the focus off of calories burned and body parts toned and more about how you can use the time in a way that is advancing God’s Kingdom? Some of my friends use their training runs as prayer time..they pray for each other, share praise requests, and offer encouragement for their prayer needs. Others I know use their time helping with Girls on the Run or other fitnessing mentoring organizations which is a great way to get to know someone in order to try to meet her needs. (I think Jesus might have done that!) What about a session of Yo-God? These classes are faith-based, gentle and for all fitness levels…again, another opportunity to invite someone who needs encouragement and support.
2. Don’t have an exercise routine? Don’t like to exercise? No worries…When we train in godliness, God will get us MOVING! When we clean our homes, mow are grass, take care of our households for our families…we are exercising in godliness. When we help someone move or walk someone’s dog for them…we are strengthening our bodies and our spirits. When we volunteer with the children at church—BELIEVE me, that is a full body workout AND a true spirit strengthener!
The point is, when we follow God’s will for our lives, we will be strengthened inside and out. He intends for us to take care of our physical bodies, and just like everything else, He WILL provide a way. We don’t have to be like hamsters on a treadmill staying in one place, we don’t have to be hurting ourselves to meet a worldly goal. We can fix our eyes on Jesus…follow His training plan for us. This plan has promise for our physical life as we train for the life to come in the body of Christ.