By Allen White
Is exercise worthless? It’s easy to misunderstand what Paul is getting at here. It appears that he is saying, “Exercise is nice, but put your energy into what really matters.” That’s not what he’s saying.
As we’ve pointed out in this series, we are whole beings. We are not just a bunch of parts: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, etc. The parts are interconnected and interrelated. We are the sum of these parts, and yet we are so much more.
This verse points to a place that some of us prefer not to go. If our physical discipline is down, it alerts us to the possibility of our overall discipline being down. What happens when we practice the discipline of fasting? We go without physical nourishment, and we are reminded that we can get by with far less of a lot of things: entertainment, careless words, busy work, and of course, food. The physical act of fasting relates to the non-physical parts of us.
Eugene Peterson in The Message puts it this way, “Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. “ 1 Timothy 4:8 (Msg)
Are you experiencing any spiritual flabbiness? Is that related to some physical flabbiness? You can take care of both by starting to prayer walk. Just walk around your neighborhood and silently pray for your neighbors. That’s just a suggestion. There are many ways to eliminate all of our “flabbiness.” Find what works best for you.
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