Devotional: ‘Spiritual Exercise’

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Over the last decade or so gravity seems to have a stronger pull on my body; therefore, physical exercise has become a part of my daily routine. Though I enjoy exercising and believe that it is very beneficial, the Bible teaches us that there is another form of exercise that is even more important.

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8 NLT)  

Though physical exercise has some value, training for godliness is even better. According to Paul, when we train for godliness, we are not only helping ourselves in this life, but in the life that is to come.

The question some might ask is – “How do we exercise ourselves unto godliness? What does godly exercise look like?” Consider what Peter tells us.

2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. BSB

It Requires Commitment

Peter also wrote – ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’ [1] Those who are in great physical shape do not get there overnight. It takes a consistent life of daily exercise in order to develop both physically and spiritually. Not every workout is an enjoyable as others, but every workout is necessary if we want to see results.

It Requires a Willingness to Change

Peter’s list seems to indicate a progression of growth and change from one Christian characteristic to the next. We begin with faith that brings us salvation. After faith comes moral excellence. Then comes knowledge, which means a deeper understanding of who God is and what it means to be a Christian. Then comes perseverance; with perseverance comes godliness; with godliness comes brotherly kindness; with brotherly kindness comes Christ-like love. Becoming a mature Christ-like believer does not happen overnight. It takes years of exercising ourselves unto godliness and a willingness to submit our wills to Christ and to change.

It Rewards Us With Christ-likeness

2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Peter promises us that if we will apply ourselves to exercising our godliness, we will eventually be rewarded with a more Christ-like character. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen!

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[1] 2 Peter 3:18

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