The Exercise of Godliness

“I am going to faint.”

That was basically my first thought as I sat gasping for breath on the bathroom floor. I’d started a new 30-min workout regimen and got seven minutes in before nearly passing out. That’s when I dragged myself into the bathroom and sat against the wall for 5 minutes. Yes, I spent almost as much time recovering as I did working out. Hey, guess what, working out is hard.

I have to admit, I wanted to give up right then and there. I couldn’t wait until I’d worked out more and it stopped being so painful, so agonizing.

Then it hit me…not the floor, although, there were moments when it almost came into direct contact with my face. No, the realization that for exercise to profit anything, it always has to be painful. You always have to push yourself beyond your abilities. It should never, ever, ever feel comfortable or complacent.

Paul, one of my favorite Biblical writers, often used physical examples and object lessons about sports and competition. In one of my favorite epistles, I Timothy, he writes “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (4:8 ESV)

Complacency is also not a good characteristic of our spiritual walk with Christ. We should always be exercising godliness, that is, striving to be less like the world and more like Christ. At being willing to see bad habits go and make sacrifices to build good habits and disciplines. It’s never easy, and there should always been a grain of discontent…not the bad kind where we’re not joyful with what we have in our lives, but a good kind of discontent. A discontent that says, “I am not fully living in the power of the Spirit today, and I need to be…I want to be. I want to be more like Christ.”

Just like with working out, we’ll never arrive at being that perfect Christian. Sanctification is a lifelong process. As staying active should be.

Maybe you can’t start with three hour morning devotions, start somewhere. It’ll be painful…denying self always is. But one day, it will be worth it!

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