“Training your body helps you an some ways but serving God helps you in every way by bringing you blessings in this life and in the future life, too.” I Timothy 4:8 (NCV)
The Apostle Paul was writing a letter to Timothy, a young fellow associate and church leader giving him instructions and encouragement in dealing with church doctrinal errors as well as practical problems in the church at Ephesus.
Eugene Peterson’s interpretation ‘Message’ on 1 Timothy 4: 6 -10 writes, “You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. 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. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.”
This is a pass it on type of thing. Have you ever played the game pass it on? Someone whispers to you and then you whisper to another and around and around the supposedly same sentence has been given but the hearers have not heard the same message. By the time each one repeats what they heard no one can distinguish the message. I feel this way many times with the writings of Paul as taught by some church leaders. Timothy must have felt this way also.
As we can see Paul did not say, don’t exercise the body, don’t exercise the mind, don’t exercise the spirit. I have heard some doctrinal makers say Paul also said don;t wear jewelry, don’t cut your hair, don’t dress in a business suit as Americans do and certainly women, don’t wear makeup. Some would make me think Paul was a don’t man. But, in fact the Apostle Paul was a Do man. Just remember to do it all in moderation except the serving God part and that part you DO in what one might think excess.
Paul has informed us that if we go to the gym of ‘spiritual exercise’ by serving God like a good trainer disciplines their body that the benefits will show now and will benefit us greatly in the future life to come. What kind of benefits will we have? Will the benefits be worth the excessive training, disciplining and order one has to have to train their body, their mind and now their soul?
Maybe if we are having trouble with the gym we should try watching the movie “Evan Almighty.”