For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8, ESV).
I love this verse.
When I’m at Planet Fitness™ bench pressing 100 pounds and the guy next to me is huffing and puffing while pressing 350 pounds, I remember 1 Timothy 4:8, as it can be translated…
Physical exercise has little value!!!!
I then feel better about being a wimp.
The Apostle Paul isn’t saying that we shouldn’t exercise, which is why I bench press my embarrassing 100 pounds publicly and am increasingly getting passed on the bike path by smirking young people.
What Paul’s saying is that godliness should take priority.
When I read 1 Timothy 4:8, I see the word “plan.” I understand the verse doesn’t literally translate, “Saints, for physical and spiritual exercise to be most beneficial, we should have a plan.”
But to me, Pastor Grant, who has way too many plans for everything that I do, that’s exactly what Paul implies in this verse.
Please hire a trainer to increase your bench pressing beyond 100 pounds, and purchase a bike and try to pass me on the bike trail – I dare you!
But for a list of spiritual disciplines, read Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline and try something new. Spiritual as well as physical exercise thrives on variety. We will plateau in physical or spiritual conditioning if we don’t “mix up” our routines.
I’m encouraging you to develop a Spiritual Formation Plan.
Begin with the basics of prayer and bible reading. Learn your spiritual gifts and serve accordingly. Get trained to disciple another person as Jesus teaches in the Great Commission.
Then advance by asking God to reveal something that you should do differently. Whenever I do this, the Spirit gives me a book, a sermon, or a word of advice from a friend who suggests a new spiritual exercise.
God is the God of new; He wants a fresh relationship with us. That is why He sent us the Holy Spirit. As Jesus says…
But the Coach, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, He will instruct you in all things (John 14:26, OGV).
Remember the number one rule of Spiritual Formation: Change happens when God pursues and catches us.
Spiritual disciplines open the door for our Coach to speak to us and strengthen our ability to follow Jesus.
My goal this week is 110 pounds and finish memorizing Psalm 111.