One verse of Scripture that intrigued me a lot for many years was the declaration of Paul in 1 Timothy 4:8, as found in the King James version, “Bodily exercise profiteth little,” which is rendered in present-day translations, “Physical training is of some value.”
I had been very active in hiking, running, gymnastics and soccer, and valued the significant strength and feeling of exhilaration that physical exercise and training gave me. Then, too, the medical profession has always emphasized the importance of exercise to our health and well-being.
Exercise is just one aspect of our need to take care of our wonderfully made bodies. We also need good nutrition, professional health care and adequate rest. And our mental/emotional state needs to be kept in good health. But beyond our physical and mental/emotional health, for us to enjoy totally good health, it is vital that we make our spiritual well-being our first priority. For Paul continues in 4:8, “Godliness has value for all things.” Let us consider some of the ways in which we can ensure our spiritual well-being:
It is essential that we feed on the word of God, for it is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and through it, the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, teaching us who God is, His attributes, His love and provision for us, and what He would have us do. The Word of God, the Holy Bible, is the most nutritious spiritual food that we can ingest. There are many books about the Bible, but it is God’s Word itself that is essential, for the author is God the Holy Spirit. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
Just as we need regular meals for our physical well-being, so we need to regularly feed on God’s word to avoid spiritual malnutrition. A healthy practice for us is to read three to four chapters each day, thereby reading the entire Bible each year, and not just reading, but prayerfully meditating on what we read, as when we eat, we chew our food before swallowing to aid in the digestion.
And as we feed on God’s Word, we store God’s truths in our hearts and minds, so that when we are confronted with situations, the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance the appropriate verse or truth that we need at that particular moment. The psalmist declares in Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Also, knowing God’s Word protects us against false teaching.
Access to the Great Physician
We need to have excellent health care available to keep our physical bodies functioning well. How much more we need access to our Creator God. We never need to arrange an appointment. We never get a busy signal. He is available 24/7. He never asks us what insurance coverage we have. In His omniscience, He knows all about us, and He always provides an instant complete cure for our spiritual and emotional needs. The Apostle John wrote, “I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1).
May each one of us get a daily spiritual checkup by direct consultation with the One who made us. At the very first sign of any spiritual malady, allow Him to take care of it before it festers and develops into anything worse.
Let us remember that true prayer involves listening as well as talking, and let us follow His guidance and direction by doing what He says we should do.
In James 2:17, we read, “Faith, by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
We know that, in our physical bodies, if we do not exercise, our muscles will atrophy and become weak or useless. So we are to glorify God by bearing fruit, much fruit, and He gives spiritual gifts to enable us to serve Him by helping others with their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, always abounding in the work of the Lord. As we exercise our spiritual muscles, we are strengthened, stretched and enabled to take on greater challenges.
We need to take care of ourselves in order that we can please God and be a blessing to others, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It takes a total, constant commitment that is not possible for us to attain in our own strength. But it is possible and is assured, however, as we invite the Holy Spirit to indwell us and take complete control of our command center, our spiritual heart.
Brian Thompson, J.D., CPA, is a Free Methodist lay minister/lay pastor with CrossPointe Community in Westlake, Ohio. Thompson regularly provides biblical counseling and nursing home services and often gives invocations and speaks at events in the Westlake community. Thompson served CrossPointe for a year as supply pastor. He recently published his autobiography, “If I Settle on the Far Side of the Sea.”
- Do we have enough spiritual hunger to drive us to prioritize Bible reading?
- Do we have enough spiritual thirst to drive us to continual prayer to quench that thirst?
- Are we willing to live a life of service that bears much spiritual fruit?