Exercising Ourselves Unto Godliness

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Americans are somewhat obsessed with physical exercise and fitness. People of all ages exert themselves to extreme measures in pursuit of greater physical health. Folks go to significant measures to “workout.” Ironically, while people shy away from careers which require manual labor, they will invest time, money and energy into a daily or weekly “workout.” Even some churches are advertising a “fitness ministry.” One can observe folks who exercise almost to the point of exhaustion. Picture the man running on the sidewalk in town; sweat streaming down his face, seemingly too weary to take another step. But he urges himself to reach his goal.
Physical exercise does have benefits. In fact, proper physical exercise supports good health. Things such as happier moods, better sleep quality, improved concentration, reduced stress, and less anxiety are accredited as benefits. Physical exercise requires personal disciplines; which, also causes a person to feel good about himself and spurs him to continue the hard work of bodily exercise.
The Scriptures instruct us in spiritual exercise which stretches our minds, our activities and our worship to a greater commitment and oneness with our Lord and Saviour. The apostle Paul was a man of determination, he set goals for his life, and he wasn’t satisfied until he accomplished his goal. He pressed toward the mark for the prize (Php 3:14) and I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1Co 9:27). Paul determined to live a life acceptable with God and one that did not mar his relationship with Christ. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men (Acts 24:16). The apostle Paul was interested in exercise which had as its highest goal, a life in tune with his heavenly Father. It was his daily exercise. He was busy in the Lord’s work. While he was busy serving this main goal and purpose, it also provided many opportunities for physical workouts.
Those who benefit most from physical exercise are those who are consistent and have the determination to push beyond their comfort zone. Spiritual exercise is much the same. Disciplines are necessary in order to stretch beyond the cares of today, the here and now and the acceptable jargon of society. Paul said, But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness (1Ti 4:7). Activity which encourages deeper levels of godliness will require decisions of denying ourselves the mediocre for that which lifts us above the earthly and up to heavenly things.
Spiritual exercise spurs one on to greater maturity in which he is better able to discern between and divide the good from the evil. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:14).
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Heb 12:11).
For the child of God, there is a Divine guidance that surrounds his life. He has committed his ways to the Lord and finds rest in the sovereign will of God. The unpleasant circumstances are not viewed merely as a “bad day,” but rather he asks the question – “Lord, what are you endeavoring to teach me today?” If we allow this type of exercise in our life rather than running away from them, it will yield fruits of righteousness.
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things. (1Ti 4:8). Physical exercise does have benefits. It profits for a short time. Exercising in Godliness will yield benefits to all areas of life that will last for eternity.
May God help us to exercise ourselves unto godliness which will point others to the way of the Cross that leads Home.