I have had a major shift in my overall motivation for working out and staying in shape in the last handful of years. It's so that I can stay healthy, which helps me better do the work that God calls me to do.
I know that I am more alert, have more energy and can stay better focused when I work out on a regular basis. Keeping fit also contributes to reducing my chances of the many lifestyle-related diseases that could set in and hamper my efforts to do things for God.
Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:10 that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we should walk in them." Certainly, it is a miracle in itself that God designed the human body so that it could run 39,000 miles and more over a lifetime. He has put our bodies together in unimaginable ways. My heart has beaten at least 1.8 trillion times over the last 58 years. Imagine that! Another miracle.
In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, we are reminded by Paul to "exercise in the ways of godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable in all things, holding promise for the present life and also for the life to come."
Clearly there is much benefit to being physically fit, but it is even more important to be spiritually fit. Spiritual exercises like reading the Bible, praying, surrendering to God, serving others and forgiving others are all important aspects of one's spiritual fitness program.
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to run the race God has set before us, and we are to do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish (Heb. 12:1-2). In the middle of the 12th chapter, we are encouraged to mark out a straight path for our feet so those who follow us will not stumble and fail but will become strong.
I'm thankful to God that I'm still able to enjoy my short runs and that, while I am on them, He gives me the inspiration and creativity from which I can share spiritual truths with my readers.
I'm also thankful that He has given me the "work" to encourage others of the faith to "remain on a straight path." I pray that He is also using me to share the gospel with those who do not know Him.
In the "race" of your life, don't give up. Stay the course. If you are a believer, others are watching you and many need to experience the love of Jesus that flows through you. Go deeper in your faith.
If you don't know God in a personal way and are looking for spiritual strength to help you cope with the stressors of life, consider accepting Jesus into your heart and receive His strength, peace and joy.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What "work" has God called you to do? Is your health an obstacle for doing this "work"?
- How spiritually fit are you? Are you engaged in meaning spiritual exercises throughout each week?
- Do you have real peace, joy and hope because you experience Jesus' love?
Dale Fletcher is the executive director of Faith and Health Connection. For the original article, visit fitandhealthconnection.org.
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