In 1 Tim 4:7 you are told to “exercise thyself rather unto godliness”. Exercise unto godliness is compared with bodily exercise in the next verse. By this comparison, we learn some valuable lessons about our spiritual fitness.
As bodily exercise is profitable for physical fitness, so exercise unto godliness is profitable for spiritual fitness.
Exercise is profitable. My leg and hip pain have resolved through core exercises. But it takes time to see the benefit. Nevertheless, after some time, the benefit is unmistakable.
Likewise, you have spiritual weaknesses that must be strengthened. When you exercise your spiritual muscles through praying and doing what the Bible says, your spiritual fitness improves.
Unlike physical weaknesses, though, you don’t usually recognize your spiritual weaknesses until you strengthen and then compare your strength with where you started.
As clients benefit from exercise classes and trainers, so Christians benefit from classes, teachers, and pastors.
I’ve been using a trainer for 20 years. He encourages me to be disciplined. He knows what I need and designs the daily program. My trainer knew where he wanted me to be when we started working together 2 years ago, and he has gotten me here through planned exercises.
Pastors, Sunday school teachers, and people who disciple you can tell where you are and know what you need to become fit.
As bodily exercise must be done correctly to benefit you physically, so godly exercise must be done properly to benefit you spiritually.
There are more ways to do exercises incorrectly than there are ways to do them right. My trainer coaches me to do the exercises properly and keeps me safe. I can feel when I am doing something right, after he corrects the problem. There’s a major difference in the benefit of exercises done correctly.
Likewise, there are many way to do exercises unto godliness incorrectly. Modern Bibles, doctrinal errors, carnal teachings, earthly wisdom and the like will keep you spiritually weak. When you exercise properly, you can tell that you’re getting stronger.
As you lose physical strength when you neglect bodily exercise, so you lose spiritual strength when you neglect godly exercise.
With the conference and then my trainer’s vacation, I was off for two weeks. I still walked and stayed active. But when we met yesterday for a workout, I was surprised how much “weaker” I was after just two weeks off.
Likewise, no matter how long you’ve been saved, and how much you’ve grown, when you take a break from your spiritual exercises, you weaken much faster and much more than you realize. That’s why faithful attendance at all the services of the church is so vital to your spiritual fitness.
As it’s hard to start physical exercises again after taking a break, so it’s hard to start godly exercises again after taking a break.
As much as I need to exercise and know the benefits of exercise, it was hard for me to get mentally geared up for my workout yesterday morning. It would have been so easy to lay out. I just had to force myself to go.
Likewise, when you lay your Bible down for a couple of weeks and skip your normal prayer time and slack on obedience, and miss a few services, it is so hard to get cranked back up again. No matter, if you have cooled off, resolve tonight that you will fight through your own lethargy and get back at your exercise unto godliness.
Conclusion: Your spiritual fitness depends upon it.