We live in a time when exercise is a common topic. It’s talked about on television and the internet, written about in newspapers and magazines. Everyone has an opinion about exercise. Having been a small health club manager at one point in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to observe people in an exercise setting. I knew several people who hated to exercise and they never joined the gym. Others joined even though they didn’t like it, but believed the health benefits were worth it. Some gym members never took their exercise program seriously; they were just there for the social aspects. Then there were those who really liked to exercise, who in turn were the ones who reaped the greatest rewards.
I’ve watched those who had to work very hard to achieve results, and others that reached their goals quickly and easily. At times this would be so discouraging to the one whose results were slow in coming, that they would give up. I’ve seen some who had tremendous results in the loss of weight and inches, yet when they looked in the mirror still saw themselves as overweight. To them, the success just seemed too good to be true. There was the socialite. While they may be very friendly and entertaining, they distracted many from their goals and rarely had words of encouragement for those struggling – they had no empathy, because they never actually exercised enough for it to be difficult!
Then there were those who had made a commitment. They showed up to work out even on the days they didn’t feel like it. A bad day at work, inclement weather, their favorite show on tv – nothing distracted them from their commitment to reach their goal. It was a delight to share in their accomplishments, to see the change not only in what happened to their physical appearance and health, but to their confidence in themselves. The successes that were the most difficult to achieve were the ones that developed in that person a fearless attitude about other things in life – the challenges they may be facing at work or in relationships. They discovered they could be “over-comers”!
Did you know the bible tells us to exercise? I believe we have a responsibility to take care of our physical bodies – we have a job to do on this earth and our bodies need to last until we’ve fulfilled our purpose! That being said, this physical body is temporary and we must give the greater attention to the spiritual things. Here’s what Peter wrote about exercise:
“…employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy)…” 1 Peter 1:5
Some in the body of Christ really don’t like the message of faith, so they rarely attend services even though they believe in God and acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Others attend services out of obligation. There are those who attend church as a social event; not interested in any commitment, it’s just a place to go and visit. Then there are those who love church! They understand the value of coming together with others to learn and grow. These reap numerous rewards.
The bible warns us about comparing ourselves with one another, but from time to time, that is exactly what we do. The one who is struggling to stand in faith and the answers to their prayers are slow in coming may look at another who seems to believe God so easily and their answers to prayers are immediate, and become discouraged. Sometimes they just give up on faith.
There are others who hear the words of forgiveness and grace, but when they look at themselves still see sin and defeat. The fact that they’ve been made righteous before God just seems too good to be true.
Some have no commitment to the body of Christ, they simply enjoy the socialization each week. They don’t know what to say to those who are hurting or struggling because they don’t really follow the teachings of Christ and have no experience in standing in faith through difficulties.
But, oh, there are those who are in love with Christ. They are committed to believe Him no matter what and they let nothing distract them from their faith walk – they purposely exercise it. They know that they must exercise their faith in everything in order to develop and grow. With each stage of development, new victories are won and confidence grows. They become fearless when their faith has held fast through the challenges and hard times that come. They’ve discovered they are “over-comers” in this life!!
That passage in 2 Peter goes on to say that we should exercise and develop virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and Christian love. But it all starts with exercising our faith. Every day. In every thing. This takes purposeful thought on our part, carefully choosing our words when challenges appear. Exercising our faith means SAYING faith words – acknowledging that God is helping us, that He is the God of the impossible and nothing is too difficult for Him. Each time we set our minds on Him and Who He is, our faith is strengthened. The scripture also continues with “if these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep you from being idle and unfruitful unto the full personal knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”! These qualities will help us fully know Jesus!
Who knew we could be so excited about exercise?? 🙂