Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lessons from the Gym

Highgrove Gym
"You going to the gym today?"  This was a frequent question around my parents' house this summer while we were vacationing in America.  For my husband's birthday, I bought him, my mom, and myself a one month gym membership. While exercising, I couldn't help but think of Paul's saying how "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" (I Timothy 4:8).  In I Corinthians he talks again about disciplining his body in order to lead the life that he should live (9:27).  I believe that one reason he uses this terminology in relation to our Christian walk is that it is easy to make parallels between the physical discipline of exercise and the spiritual disciplines.  Looking back on that month of exercise, I learned some lessons that apply to my Bible reading as well as to other areas of my spiritual life.

First, I did much better exercising knowing that there were others on the same journey as myself.  Exercising with my mom or husband made me stronger.  Solomon noted a similar phenomenon when he stated that "a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart" (Ecclesiastes 4:12). When we know that others are striving for the same goal as ourselves, it is much easier to stay on track.  I believe this mutual encouragement is one of the reasons why the early Christians met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 16:2). This is also a reason why your comments mean so much to us; we know that we are not alone in our walks.

Although having someone exercise with me was nice, sometimes I went by myself because I realized that I do better going early while my husband preferred to go in the afternoon or evening. In order to establish a consistent habit of being in the Book, it is important for each of us to know the time of day that we are the freshest.  Although Paul says that we should "Rejoice always;  pray without ceasing;  in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" it is also important to take time out of our day to listen to God speak though his Word (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).  The Psalmist talks about praying in the morning (Psalms 5:3).  I am not saying here that everyone's prayer time and Bible reading need to be in the morning.   Night owls probably won't do good getting up in the morning to read. On the other hand, I fall asleep when I try to read before bed. Others don't need a consistent time at all but just seem to fit it in during their day.  The important thing is that we find the time that works best for ourselves to spend time with God.  

Regardless of when I exercised, I found that having an exercise plan for the day made it easier to both go to the gym and to stay focused once there. Those of you that followed me last year know that I was reading through the Bible in a year (more or less).  This really helped me with reading consistently.  You also know that I haven't posted on here for a long time.  Once I finished with that plan, it was hard for me to get back on track.  Finally the last month I have began reading more regularly again.  Each day my IPad sends me a verse for the day.  In the mornings before I start my day, I read the chapter where that day's verse comes from. Although this is not the best plan in the world, it has been fairly effective for me.  Now if I can just get back to writing about my readings.  

I hope that some of these thoughts from my summer exercise journey have helped you in your spiritual walk with the Lord.  How has your walk with Him been going lately?  What helps you take time for Him daily?  I look forward to hearing from you. 
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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