But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
I Timothy 4:7-8 King James Version
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.
I Timothy 4:7-8 The Message
Some people take this passages as an excuse to abuse their bodies. They say, "See, God doesn't care about this exercise thing. After all, He said it 'profiteth little.'" I was guilty of the same line of thinking for years. My mentality was well, if doing anything to work on this body is of little use to God, why should I bother? That is until the first time I started showing the initial signs of illness. Then, of course, God was the first one I tried to call on for help. Since I didn't think He cared about my body, I didn't have much confidence that He would help me, though mercifully He did.
I had to learn that God didn't say that bodily exercise didn't profit at all, but little, or more exactly, for a little time. I happen to know from experience that the benefits of months of physical exercise can be ruined by a few weeks of laziness, inconsistency, overindulgence, or illness. I also know that I can put all my effort into working on my physical outside, but if my spirit and soul are empty, I can still look in the mirror and see a fat, ugly mess, devoid of any real substance--what Jesus called a whitewashed sepulcher--appearing to have it all together on the outside, but dead on the inside.
Bringing my spiritual life into this physical process of transformation became necessary for real change. I'm doing things like studying what the Word says about the physical body--how to treat the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:9), learning that God does care about my total health in order to fulfill His calling for my life (I Thessalonians 5:23), and learning to effectively pray over my workouts and meals. Only then, does successful recovery begin to occur. I've got a while to go, but I'm not where I used to be.
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