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Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value; godliness has value for all things. (1Timothy 4: 7b, 8a NIV)

Doesn’t it seem like every time you go to the doctor you get not so happy news? Well, this is what happened during one of my regular visits, after the check up my doctor said, “Your heart’s pumping efficiency is 20 % compared to a normal of 70 %,”. “Looking at your echocardiogram, I conclude that you can hardly walk across the room. But your physical fitness contradicts these results. You are a conundrum. What is your exercise program?”

“Several times each week I either walk for one-half hour without stopping, ride a stationary bike for 3 miles, or swim 800 yards.” He calmly and flatly responded, “Keep it up. If you don’t, you will go downhill rapidly.” 

This made me think of 1 Timothy 4:7-8 which tells us physical training has some value.

I wonder what Timothy thought when he read this initially. He may have reflected on his trip with Paul from Macedonia to Athens (Acts 17) retracing the marathon run there centuries before by Pheidippides. Or he may have recalled the Isthmian games to apply Paul’s metaphor to the training needed to live for God. In Greek the word for physical training is the word from which we get gymnasium. Physical exercise is essential to my health; my heart will stop beating without it. Likewise I will fail spiritually without regular disciplines of the soul.

I went to meet God today.

Not to bike, or walk, or swim

But to do godly exercise

As I draw close to Him.

Even in my weakness, a godly exercise program can keep me spiritually fit.