By Erica, Contributing Writer
Bodily exercise is beneficial, but the Bible teaches that we should exercise ourselves unto godliness first and foremost.
Looking into God’s Word we find out a little about exercise according to 1 Timothy 4:7,8, “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 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.”
How is godliness profitable unto all things?
Godliness Helps You Resist Temptation and Run to Jesus
Resistance exercises, like weight lifting, cause the muscles to contract against the resistance to increase strength and endurance. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We all face temptations to sin on a daily basis, but we are not exercising godliness if we do not resist the temptations. Giving in to the temptation to sin makes us weak spiritually.
Resisting the lure to be tempted away to make wrong choices must be done in order to gain spiritual strength. The book of James teaches that we are tempted when we are drawn away from our own lusts and enticed. Inside of ourselves we face our greatest enemy, the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which all make us a prime target for the devil to draw us away and tempt us.
After resistance we need to run to the Lord when we realize that we are being tempted. The book of James teaches when we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh (close) to us. Running to Christ as our help from sin shows our reliance upon Him in our weakness. A close relationship with God will perpetuate godliness and help us to resist temptation.
Godliness Helps You Build Up Your Most Holy Faith
One of the goals of getting fit physically is to burn off fat, then after you burn off fat then it may be your goal to build muscle. Jude explains to us in Jude 1:20-21 that we should be building up our spiritual man. “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Keeping yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Building up our most holy faith is a process of step-by-step choices to grow and maintain a godly lifestyle. Do not stress about not being able to be a “perfect” Christian, focus on being faithful to build your relationship with God each day. There is also a hint on how…”Building up yourselves ON your most holy faith.” Faith must come first before our prayer life and our love of God and mercy will be established.
Godliness Begins Stretching Your Faith
Hebrews 11 teaches us that faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” II Corinthians 5:7 tells us that we “walk by faith and not by sight.” We cannot see God with our physical eyes, that is why we have to trust God’s promises through what we read and learn from the Bible.
Stretching physically usually makes your muscles burn, but they begin to make your body prepared to work out in its fullest sense. Stretching our faith means that we must take Him at His Word and trust that even though things may not look like they will work, each situation in our lives is apart of His plan. We must have faith to exercise godliness and sometimes having faith will make us uncomfortable, so that God can prove to us He is real and working in our lives.
Think of Moses. While Moses failed because of his anger many times, he had a special relationship with God. Exodus 33:11 explains, “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” Moses stepped out by faith, to perform some of the most amazing miracles of the Bible because He chose godliness over the pleasures of sin for a season. (Study more of Hebrews 11, to learn about Moses’ faith.)
What could God do through your life if you exercised yourself in godliness?
Godliness Benefits More than Our Life on Earth
According to I Timothy 4:8, “…godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Exercising godliness benefits our lives today and in the future of eternal life we have after we die when we live with the Lord in heaven. God allows us to be able to make transactions and investments into eternity directly related to our relationship with Him now. That is why it is important to “exercise thyself rather unto godliness,” because it benefits that which is to come. We don’t even know the blessings that lie ahead from choosing to live a godly life, but I am sure they are amazing!
When we have the choice to choose between a daily workout and studying and building up our relationship with the Lord, this passage proves our relationship with God is more important. I do believe it is possible to both have daily devotions and Bible study and work out if that’s what we choose to do with our time. I hope you will begin to build up your most holy faith and choose to begin to find ways to exercise godliness in your daily life.
If you’d like to read my article about Exercise is for Serving God for a Lifetime, click here.