For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. – 1 Timothy 4:8
Have you ever heard that the above verse means bodily exercise is a waste? I have. However, it does not say that. It says “profiteth little,” which means there is some sort of benefit to it. Exercise can actually become a big part of one’s spiritual journey IF practiced for the right reasons.
I often wonder why I cannot get a stable routine set for my workouts, so the blame lands on work, illness, and other things that take up my time. I know I need to do it, but I fight it. Recently, a discovery reached my heart that I hold the wrong motivations in trying to uphold this task.
As the rest of this world, my reasons for exercise have been to lose weight, feel good about myself, and gain energy for my day. To most of you, that may seem logical. However, as a child of God, I realized these are superficial and not pleasing to God.
Now do not misunderstand me. It is okay to want to lose a few pounds and to want to feel healthy. It is okay to desire some extra energy to make it through your hectic day. Nevertheless, we are supposed to do everything unto God.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Through quality time with my Father, I came to see that physical exercise is good for numerous reasons:
1. more energy and strength to serve God
2. more energy and strength to help others
3. more positive thoughts and attitudes towards everything
4. clearer thoughts and more focus
5. keeps God’s temple in “tip-top shape”
6. less wear and tear, less chance of premature death
These motivations should encourage us much more than the other reasons. If we use physical exercise to exalt self, then we are allowing our pride to get in the way. That is a really dangerous thing to do. It can create food addictions, dangerous dieting mentalities, and dishonoring actions toward the Lord.
As in any task that we take part in, we must be cautious and keep ourselves focused. We need to do ALL things unto God’s glory down to the food we eat, to the exercise we get, and to the clothes we wear. Anything outside of His Will is not a good place to be. We should be careful not to allow the exercise to consume us and become an idol. It should not be treated as a god in our life! It can easily become that under the wrong motivations!
Exercise is a needed part of life. If one feels ill and tired all the time, he or she cannot serve properly. I know I can’t. Lately, I have felt pretty blazay, and I know I haven’t done as much as I could when healthy to honor the Lord. It slows me down and restricts my abilities when I am under the weather.
So remember, exercise is a great thing. As everything else in life, we must do it for the Lord!
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; – Colossians 3:23