Everyone wants to be healthy. Even though we love unhealthy food and sitting on the couch, we still have the desire to be healthy. We want to be fit. We want to have slim and toned bodies. We want to feel good. We don’t want to be out of breath after walking up one flight of stairs or after jogging for 2 minutes. And we know the only way to be healthy is to exercise. And to make sure what we intake won’t negate the amount of exercise we do. The better things we put in, the more profitable our exercise will be.
Athletes are dedicated. They don’t give up after one rough day at they gym. They push through the pain and the exhaustion to make sure they will reach their goals. Athletes want to be the best. They don’t settle for second best. Their time in training is what makes them ready for the race or the game. Even after horrible injuries and unexpected setbacks, great athletes persevere and come back stronger.
Recently my brother and I started running together. After moving back to Texas, fitting a time for exercise in my day was extremely difficult. It was easy before I moved back because walking around Manhattan was just built into my day. I didn’t have to go out of my way to get a good amount of exercise. Thankfully I have my brother pushing me to be disciplined. That’s all it is – discipline. It has to become a habit. I have to train myself to be as healthy as possible so I can fulfill my ultimate potential for Jesus. But Paul says, “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). Being disciplined in bodily exercise is great, but disciplining ourselves to godliness is even greater.
Many times in Scripture, living life as a follower of Christ is related to running a race –
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
1 Corinthians 9:245-27
We must exercise self-control in all things. We have the hope of receiving an imperishable reward. To be spiritually healthy, it’s necessary to know exactly what we are taking in. We have to realize that what we take in, is what will come out. I tell my students this all the time. If you’re reciting the lyrics to a song that is all about Gucci and Versace, well then, I’m sorry to say, Gucci and Versace is what you’re all about. If we take the steps to discipline ourselves to godliness, to be more like Him, then what will be seen in our actions and what will be heard in our words will be the evidence. But if we are unintentional, our actions and words will show our lack of discipline.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Today, we must seek His face. The more we seek Him, the more He will make Himself known to us. And the more we get to know Him, the more we will understand that He is our all in all. Running towards Him is the only way we will make it home. We must keep our eyes set on Him and be disciplined knowing that it is all for Him and for His glory. Bodily exercise may improve our quality of life throughout our lives on this earth, but commitment to train ourselves with spiritual exercise will profit us greatly in the ages to come. I encourage you, brother and sister, to abide in Him and His word. Be assured that what you are disciplined in today will affect your results tomorrow. Have you asked Jesus how He wants you to use your time today? The time is now. Put down the Cheetos Puffs and the TV remote, log out of Facebook, and wake yourself up. Start somewhere. Start today. Be disciplined.
He’s worth it.