Written by Heather Garner Friday, 17 February 2017 12:58
The exercise performed by athletes is impressive. Long distance runners train 10-20 miles a day. Swimmers swim 10 miles a day to be competitive. Gymnasts work out 8-9 hours a day. Such exercise is essential for several reasons: To be competitive; To endure the hardships of the competition; to gain the victory!
As Christians we can learn from the discipline and self-control of these athletes who are committed to finish the race. Not only is there a need for bodily exercise, but we have a greater need for Godly exercise:
1 Timothy 4:8 (KJV) ⁸For 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.
This type of exercise offers benefits for the life which now is plus the promise for the life to come. Some examples of good spiritual exercise would be:
•Diligence in rightly handling the word of truth - 2Tim 2:15
•Communing with the Lord in prayer - Phil. 4:6-7
•Meditating on things worthy of virtue and praise - Phil 4:8
•Loving the brethren with sincerity - Rom. 12:9-10
•Offering diligent, fervent service to the Lord and to brethren - Rom. 12:11-13
Certainly one engaged in such “exercises” is a true spiritual athlete: running the race of faith with certainty, fighting the good fight with purpose -1 Cor. 9:26. Such efforts will not be in vain when they are accompanied by the right motivation and when coupled with self-control.
Are you “Obtaining the prize”? Make sure that you heed Paul’s words to “run in such a way that you may obtain it”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV ) ²⁴Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. ²⁵Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. ²⁶Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. ²⁷No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Also take heart from his words found later in this same epistle: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” - 1Cor. 15:58