A 5 Step Exercise Program

The benefits of a regular exercise program are well documented and promoted constantly through TV ads, books, magazines, and social media posts.

Someone came up with a daily exercise for the non-athletic, sedentary person along with the number of calories burned by each activity.

Beating around the bush………………… 75
Jumping to conclusions…………………..100
Climbing the walls…………………………150
Passing the buck………………………….. 25
Throwing your weight around
(depending on your weight)…………50-300
Dragging your heels………………………100
Pushing your luck…………………………250
Making mountains out of molehills…….500
Hitting the nail on the head………………50
Wading through paperwork……………..300
Bending over backwards…………………..75
Jumping on the bandwagon……………..200
Running around in circles………………..350

While this list provides a bit of humor, too often these diversions hinder us from more important activities like physical exercise.

However, there is another kind of exercise that we ought to be even more concerned about that is often neglected–spiritual exercise.

In Paul’s letter to the young preacher Timothy, he admonished, “Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (2 Tim. 4:7-8)

“Gymnasium” is derived from the Greek word “exercise.” This was a place where Greek youths engaged in physical training to develop their bodies for athletic competiton. It carries the idea of vigorous activity.

It’s worth noting that the apostle is not presenting an either-or choice. There is some benefit derived from physical training. As good stewards, we ought to take care of the body. A healthy diet, the right amount of sleep and regular exercise provides us with the strength to serve God’s purpose. However, the apostle affirms that training for godly living renders a value more useful and longer lasting.

Godliness has to do with piety, reverence, and respect toward God. Of the 15 times the word is used in the New Testament, 9 times it is found in the letters to Timothy. The apostle obviously was trying to make a point to this young man.

Just like physical exercise strengthens the body, spiritual exercise strengthens the soul. Godliness is not an accident. It’s a decision we make that occurs through mental and emotional desire, discipline and daily dedication.

Here are some suggestions to help you with a spiritual exercise program that will aid in training toward godliness.

(1) Have a regular Bible reading program.

Exercising ourselves unto godliness begins with getting into God’s Word. You cannot be properly trained spiritually apart from the Bible. God’s Word produces faith. Increases knowledge. Provides purpose. Develops strength. Grows character. Supplies comfort. Offers hope. And equips us for life’s problems and Satan’s challenges.

(2) Meditate on what you’ve read.

To meditate is to think deeply. Consider. Reflect. Ponder. Ruminate. And mull over a thought. Older preachers used to say “chew on that a bit.”

Dee Bowman correctly observed, “Meditation is vital to spiritual development.” The exercise of reflection on divine matters causes our spiritual muscles to develop and grow stronger. Joseph Addison was right, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

(3) Pray daily.

Not just at meal time, which we should all pause to do, but at other times as well. In the morning. In the evening. When we feel stressed. Burdened. Or seeking direction and guidance. As an old song says, “God is only a prayer away.

(4) Engage in weekly worship.

The decline in church attendance in recent years indicates that many do not see the value in collective worship. Some reason, “I can worship at home.” However, obedience to the command to assembly not only pleases God but brings us into communion with other Believers who can encourage us and stimulate us to love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25).

(5) Participate in fellowship with other Christians.

Get together outside of the assembly. Extend and receive hospitality. Do things together. Association with those of like faith not only builds a strong bond among believers, but will serve to strengthen you spiritually.

Just like physical exercise, for spiritual exercise to produce godliness it must be a daily priority. Be committed. Consistent. And Constant. Then godliness will be the result.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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