October 31, 2016
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)
As soon as I open my eyes each day, they are quietly waiting for me on the floor. Royal blue and florescent orange, with bright orange laces. My running shoes sit within arm’s length of where I rise every morning.
I purposely place these shoes beside my bed every night, so I’ll put them on first thing in the morning. If I walk past my colorful shoes and slip on my warm bedroom slippers, get coffee, check my email or get distracted with something else, the chances of a morning workout greatly diminish with each passing minute.
You see, when I put on those running shoes, something happens. It’s as if those shoes hold some motivational power. For some reason, once my feet are ready to go, my body is ready too, and I feel motivated and eager to work out.
One morning as I laced up my shoes, I chuckled at how this one simple habit has helped me stay motivated and consistent in physical exercise. I realized my outward actions fueled an inward motivation to do something that will benefit my health and help me stay physically fit and strong.
I couldn’t help but consider how much more spiritually fit and strong I am when I adhere to spiritual habits in my daily routine as well. If my Bible also stays within arm’s reach of my bed each morning and habitually becomes the first thing I reach for, then spending time with Jesus is kind of like putting on those running shoes. It becomes an outward action that fuels an inner motivation to live a life that pleases God and helps me stay strong in my faith.
The Bible is obviously much more important than an old pair of running shoes.
But Paul understood this comparison when he wrote to a young church pastor, Timothy, to encourage him and give him guidelines for strong spiritual leadership.
Paul had learned the importance of staying spiritually strong and the benefit of developing spiritual habits in his life — like spending time in the Scriptures, prayer and daily worship. He knew this would be good advice to a young man like Timothy who had little experience leading a church. Paul understood the importance of staying spiritually fit, especially in the face of opposition, and he wanted to make sure Timothy understood that as well.
We all know it’s crucial for healthy living to eat nutritious foods and exercise, but today’s verse reminds us it’s even more important we stay spiritually healthy. We benefit from a healthy body during our time on earth, but staying spiritually fit offers benefits now and for eternity.
There are many mornings when I simply don’t feel like exercising, and I bet you can relate. There are days when my to-do list screams, my phone rings continually, or I just feel lazy, tired or unmotivated. So I’ve learned if I don’t intentionally make it a priority and form habits to help purposefully add exercise into my day, I won’t make the time.
We are the only ones who have control over setting priorities in our lives — and if we don’t intentionally make staying spiritually fit and spending time with God of utmost importance, then it won’t happen. And without habitual spiritual nourishment, we will never be spiritually fit and strong.
When we form habits in our spiritual lives that help us stay strong, we’ll have the inner motivation to live out outward actions that glorify God. When hearts and spirits are ready to go, our bodies will be too.
Lord, help me make spending time with You a habit I stick to every day, one that motivates me to live the way Your word trains me. Help me make an intentional commitment to grow spiritually strong and fit so I can be strong in my faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
3 John 1:2, “Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” (NLT)
Matthew 4:4b, “ … People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (NLT)
The First 5 study of Luke is launching November 14! Shake the myth that your past disqualifies you from God’s love by recognizing His unconditional love for you. Get the Luke Experience Guide here and download the free First 5 app today!
Visit Tracie Miles’ blog for healthy recipes as well as Scriptures to motivate you when healthy physical and spiritual growth seems out of reach.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What outward action (new habit) can you start doing each day that will fuel an inner motivation to live an outward life that pleases and glorifies God?
© 2016 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 31 October 2016.