"But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself 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)
If you're like me, you tend to think of exercise as something that requires vigorous calisthenics and aerobics, working out with machines and weights, or even just walking. We often forget, however, that exercise is not only made up of the time spent in these planned activities, it can also be incorporated into everyday tasks. By doing little things like parking our car farther away at Wal-Mart, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, running the sweeper, or working in the yard, we can burn calories and build muscle as a by-product of day to day activities.
The same is true of exercising ourselves "unto godliness." It's tempting to think that the scheduled time we spend with God in the morning (or whenever) is the only opportunity we have to give our souls a good daily work-out. But things like saying "No" to sin, meditating on the Word of God, witnessing to our faith, encouraging a drooping soul, and engaging in on-the-go prayer and fellowship with the Lord, are all examples of "spiritual sit-ups" that serve to tighten our spiritual muscles, and make us more fit for the Master's use.
Godly exercise should be of higher priority to us than physical; that is, unless how physically fit we look to others is more important to us than God's evaluation of us. Bodily exercise is undoubtedly profitable in this life; but, says the Scripture, godly exercise is profitable in this life, and the life that is to come. It will be good if we can fit both into our day, but if we must pick between the two, let's not be short-sighted enough to lace-up our Nike's without putting on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13-17).
What have you done today to stretch your soul?