New Year

Get Fit

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

1 Timothy 4:4-16

4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Reflection

Get Fit: My body is a Temple

If you did Christmas properly, you will have gorged yourselves excessively, and are only now rousing from a food coma.

No judgement!

It's no surprise that going to the gym is one of the top resolutions people make at this time of year!

Your body is good & holy.

In this letter Paul acknowledges that physical fitness has value (8). He's responding to a philosophy that suggested it didn't matter what you did with your body because it's the soul that matters. This isn't the Christian claim! It's good to look after our bodies; God made them, Jesus died for them, the Spirit lives in them, one day God will resurrect them. And as we celebrated over Christmas, God, himself, put on flesh – which is an overwhelming affirmation of the body.

Your body is important for living the Christian life.

Paul writes to the Corinthians saying: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Paul's traveling a lot, preaching the gospel, planting churches and needs to keep fit to fulfil his mission. Rather than exercising for the sake of gym mirror Insta-stories that will disappear, he does it to build his strength for mission. Your body's important to fulfil your calling as a Christian wherever you are.
 
Integrated beings.

Back to our passage. Paul says it is good to look after our bodies, but it's more important to train ourselves in godliness (8). As we know from 1 Samuel 16:7, "God doesn't look at the outwards appearances. He looks at the heart." True. However, my experience says that if I don't get a good night sleep I am more likely to skip spending time with God in the morning. Just me? I also sleep better when I have exercised hard in the gym. Just me? We're integrated beings, if you can even make this distinction, our physical lives effect our spiritual lives. So, if you want to live a godly life, I recommend getting in shape.

Questions.

Do you love your body as much as God does?

How would your Christian witness differ if you exercised more?

What changes do you need to make to ensure you get enough sleep?

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