Exercising the Spirit

I love to exercise! I love the invigorating feeling of complete relaxation after an exhausting bike ride, or jog. I love the feeling of burning muscle after I benched more than I am used to. I love exercise. There is nothing that feels so good as taking a shower, after you worked hard all day–or played a strenuous sport, and then just sitting down in a comfortable chair and just chill-axing.

I hate exercise. I hate the complete exhaustion of a bike ride. The completely wiped-out feeling of a hard basketball game. The last push-up that I can barely do. I hate nothing less then exercise.

Now you are probably thoroughly confused. I am sure you are thinking, “Well, does he like exercise or not?”

But you know what the difference between the two last scenarios is? I love exercise after I have done it. I hate it during the intense moment, the last push-up or the longest hill on my bike ride. I hate pain. We all do. I hate stress. We all do. But afterwords, I LOVE it. I just love it. My muscles begin to relax, and the feeling is splendid. It makes me go, “Ah!” It refreshes me for the rest of the day, and, in fact, many times, it gets me ready to serve God. I do not know if it is the exercise itself, or the relaxing feeling afterword, or both, but in any case it exhilarates me for God.

I guess maybe it de-stresses me and therefore I can serve God better. I must admit, I do not always want to serve God, but after a good workout and a shower maybe, I am ready to face the trials. It helps that while I am exercising that it is one of my only, alone times with God. I can pray, sing, memorize, etc. etc.

Now, the reason I say all this is, not to discourage anybody who does not enjoy exercise, but to compare it to spiritual exercise.

And remember, spiritual exercise is better than physical . . . 1 Timothy 4:8

“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.”

I find that reading my Bible everyday is very similar to say, jogging/biking.

It is definitely not the first thing that comes to my mind when I wake up…at least not most of the time–there are a few days now and then that I think “Ah, I shall go read my Bible first thing.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not this high pious preacher’s boy. But then again, what is wrong with being spiritual?–Of course, if ‘spiritual’ is defined by, reading your Bible everyday and sharing deep holy thoughts, than I am far from spiritual.

BUT, if spiritual is defined as needing to rely on my daily devotions with God, or striving to be holy as Christ was holy, and yet being very, very, far from perfect, or where I’d like to be, than yes, I am spiritual.

Anyways, back to reading the Bible being like exercise.

I do not always enjoy the reading of the Bible while I am reading it. I mean, come on, when’s the last time you read Isaiah? I don’t understand more than half of the book, and there are sixty-six chapters!

But usually after I have read the whole thing, or gotten through the intense verses that made my head spin, then I sit back and say, “Hey! That was a good passage!”

Or let’s take praying for example. Prayer is one thing that I actually enjoy sometimes. But then sometimes, I groan and say a short prayer. And usually, after a few short prayers, I begin to feel more encouraged and keep on praying. But that is only the conversational type of prayer—the type that I just talk to God about all my problems, and praise Him, and all that cool stuff.

But, oh my, I do not like the kind of prayer where I pray for missionaries over seas, or where this person as a certain problem or struggle. And you know what, that is the true spiritual exercise prayer. The other kind is like drinking water, where you feel refreshed. But praying for other people is the kind that takes real effort. And the kind Satan hates the most, because those people need special strength from God. Ohhh, my I cannot stress the importance of praying for missionaries, or for people who randomly pop up in your mind. Believe me, I know.

And then there is memorizing scripture. I DO NOT enjoy it, and yet I love it. I love the fact of knowing the verses, but I hate the process. This is the spiritual exercise that you can compare to benching, the hard, muscle-building exercise.

But there again, it feels great afterword. Just like exercise.