It’s been about two years since I began training to do an unassisted pull-up.
My first attempt was rather embarrassing, as I couldn’t even begin to pull myself up. It was more of a dead hang. And I couldn’t even hang on for all that long.
This week, I did three pull-ups, thanks to the companionship and constant support (literally and figuratively) of my daughter, Shae, who works out with me nearly every day. Her self-discipline and cheerful spirit have encouraged me to keep hauling myself up and over that metal bar every week, week after week.
Of course, I’ve tried to take care of my body in other ways as I’ve worked toward this goal. My daughter and I incorporate all kinds of exercise into our routine and work every major muscle group each week. We try to eat wisely and fast appropriately.
But I’d say that the main reason for my success is good, old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness.
The same day that I accomplished this goal, I happened to read about the Apostle Paul’s view of exercise.
…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. – 1 Timothy 4:7, 8
Interesting, isn’t it?
Because of Paul’s metaphorical references to sports, it’s probably safe to assume that he observed many athletic contests in Greece and Rome. He saw incredibly fit and well-trained men race and wrestle. Yet, he felt that physical exercise was of “little” benefit.
Instead, he instructed believers to exercise their spiritual muscles, for results not only in this world, but in the eternal world to come.
The Greek word for exercise used in this verse means “discipline;” literally, “to exercise naked.”
I have to say, that definition caused me to pause for a moment, as I couldn’t even think about exercising without clothing. Ever. I can’t imagine how the ancient Greeks did it.
But, when I consider Paul’s instructions in light of exercising spiritually, the definition makes complete sense. As we daily discipline ourselves to be more like Christ, we want to be completely unencumbered, by everything from sin to the cares of this world.
…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, – Hebrews 12:1
Just as I can’t eat fast food and loads of sugar and expect to make progress in my training regimen, I can’t consume media that will fill my mind and heart with ungodly thoughts.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:8
Just as I try to learn more every day about health and fitness, I should learn more about Christ through inspiring preaching, practical teaching, and Christian music.
When I decided to try improve my physical fitness, I knew it would be pointless to exercise sporadically or half-heartedly.
And if I truly want to be like Christ, I can’t commit halfway to that goal, either. It’s a lifestyle that requires discipline and dedication.
But in the end, the results are well worthwhile!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22, 23
But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Joshua 22:5
How to you stay spiritually fit? Have you achieved any physical fitness goals? I welcome your comments.