Last week, I was away in Detroit to preview Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. I will be graduating with my undergrad degree in the Spring of 2018 and am in the process of choosing a seminary to attend after graduation. I would appreciate your prayers as I consider which institution to study at for my MDiv degree.
If you remember from a few weeks ago, I started a series entitled Practical Spirituality. My intention with this series of articles is to provide you with simple, everyday tips that will aid you as you grow in Christ through the normal means of grace (prayer, Bible reading, fellowship, etc.). Today, we will look briefly at the benefits of exercise.
I Timothy 3:7-8: “Rather train yourself for godliness; 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.” (ESV)
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, these verses are primarily about keeping proper spiritual focus. For Timothy to be a good shepherd, he needs to train himself in the things that matter; namely, spiritual things. However, Paul readily admits that physical exercise has value. Notice here that he doesn’t totally discount the training of the body. Rather, he admits its inherent value but reminds Timothy that spiritual training is much more important.
Elsewhere, Paul is even more explicit concerning the importance of properly handling the bodies God has blessed us with. Listen to his argument in I Corinthians.
I Corinthians 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
This argument serves as the climax to Paul’s argument against sexual immorality. Because sexual immorality is a sin against the body that Christ bought with His own blood, it should be fled from.
I think the principle can extend further, however. Because our bodies have been bought by Christ and because they serve as a Temple of the living God through the Holy Spirit, it is our responsibility to properly maintain them.
A Christian that irresponsibly maintains his or her body by abusing it through sexual immorality, overeating, abuse of drugs and alcohol, excessive use of tobacco products, or myriad other ways is not properly stewarding the body that God gave them.
This subject wasn’t one I gave much thought to until I got married. Throughout high school, I enjoyed the typical high metabolism of most boys my age. On top of that, I was involved in sports throughout the winter and in the summertime, I mowed lawns almost every day. With that combination, I was able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted without a second thought. Whether it was Mountain Dew, a McDonald’s double cheeseburger, or a whole Papa John’s pizza, it didn’t matter.
However, now that I’m a little older, it seems like the calories stick more than they used to. When I had to buy a new pair of dress pants, I realized I needed to steward my body more closely when it came to my weight.
One way I have tried to do that is through regular exercise. This looks different for everybody, but I have found that running a few times a week, coupled with a few changes to my diet, has greatly improved my quality of life. The extra weight isn’t coming off as quickly as I’d like, and I don’t always stick to my exercise routine, but I find that when I do, the benefits are huge.
I feel better, I have more energy, I sleep better, and I tend to be in a better mood. And even though it’s difficult some days, I always find myself glad that I pushed myself to exercise. The benefits far outweigh the difficulties.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, weight gain, or other issues of the like, add a workout routine to your daily schedule. Oftentimes, the root of these problems can be rooted in an unhealthy lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you have to start hitting the gym five days a week, though! Maybe it’s just a short walk in the evening to get your blood flowing. Whatever it is, get active! It’s amazing what a little exercise can do for your mental, physical, emotional, and yes, spiritual health.
Steward the body God gave you well!
But be sure to consult a medical professional before you start any kind of diet or exercise program. Although you should properly maintain your body, you shouldn’t risk injury of it either!
For a further treatment of this issue, check out John Piper’s chapter on exercise in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. And don’t forget to leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you. But before you go, hit that subscribe button below and get these posts delivered right to your inbox!