I Timothy 4:8 – “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Several years ago, I started running. I had never liked running, but I needed a cheap way of exercising that burned a lot of calories in a short amount of time. I needed to combat the effects of my desk job.
My first jog was pathetic. Because of the hills in my neighborhood, I did not get further than a quarter mile without stopping. I remember standing on the sidewalk, catching my breath, feeling like a lump, and wondering what I had gotten myself into.
In time, I improved. I ran a mile without stopping, hills and all. Then, two miles. When I hit three miles, I texted my friend Cynthia, using a lot of exclamation points. She congratulated me and suggested that I try out races, so I did. I ran my first 10k, and after that, I ran two half marathons.
In time, running long distances was simple. It did not take long for me to become an exercise junkie. I organized my life around exercising, joined a gym, and on occasion, I even worked out when I was sick.
Soon, the Lord told me to stop acting ridiculous, to get rid of my gym membership even though I had six months of payments left, and to replace most of my exercise time with devotional time. “For physical training is of some value,” He said, “but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (I Timothy 4:8).
The Lord revealed that while I was enhancing my physical muscles, my spiritual muscles were getting pretty flabby. Running up hills might give me excellent endurance, but what’s the point if I can’t pray with power and longevity, heal the sick, and receive revelation from the Lord? One day, when I meet the Lord, He won’t care about how many miles I ran without stopping. Instead, He will look at my life and the lives I impacted for His glory.
It’s important to stay in shape by running, lifting weights, or whatever routine we prefer, but it’s even more critical to prioritize our spiritual six packs over our physical ones.