After a hectic day, I returned to my hostel at dusk from school. While getting some rest that night, it dawned on me that I needed to attend a prayer meeting with an evangelism group in a neighboring students’ hostel. When I checked the time, I realized it was almost 9p.m, the time slated for the all-night prayer meeting. Immediately, I grabbed my bicycle and hit the road. That night, the road leading to my hostel was poorly lit and behold, I noticed a red light ‘running’ towards me. As I rode closer, it was intriguing to see a lady jogging and a device with red light tied to her upper arm.
As a form of physical exercise, some people jog in the morning and at night daily. The Bible confirms that physical exercise is profitable to the body.
“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and 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.” (1st Timothy 4:7-8)
Exercise is an activity requiring physical effort – carried out for a specific purpose especially to sustain or improve health and fitness. Health experts explain that regular physical activity is one of the easiest ways to reduce our risk for chronic disease and to improve our quality of life. Exercise improves one’s memory and brain function; protects against many chronic diseases; helps manage weight; lowers blood pressure and improves heart health while improving one’s quality of sleep. Other benefits of exercising the body regularly include reduction of feelings of anxiety and depression; improvement of joint pain and stiffness; strengthening of bones and muscles and increased life span.
Biblically, all these benefits of exercise are little compared to godliness exercise (1st Timothy 4:8). Godliness exercise is profitable now and in the life after our time on earth is over. Another Bible translation helps us to better understand what godliness exercise means: “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way..” (English Standard Version). So we need to train ourselves for godliness. We will now look at how to exercise ourselves for godliness.
How to Engage in Godliness Exercise
Godliness is the practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God – reflecting the nature of the Kingdom of God in the course of everyday life. This is manifested in the form of integrity, loving kindness, forgiveness, supernatural exploits, to name but a few.
For us to conform to the likeness of God, we must first of all believe that He exists. We must receive Jesus Christ into our hearts to become God’s children (John 1:12). At the point of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10), the Holy Spirit enters the spirit of man to cause a rebirth. We cannot train ourselves for godliness except the Holy Spirit helps us (Philippians 2:13). So every Christian believer must constantly be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Moreover, we must get to know more about God’s nature and character. This can be achieved through personal encounters, revelation and constant study of His Word – the Bible. The Word of God is a compendium of God’s laws, methods and wishes. It reveals the character and qualities of God. The Word of God gives us instructions and corrects us in areas we are found wanting. God’s Word helps us to eliminate godless ideas, evil imaginations and philosophies of men. The more we study, meditate on, understand and practice the Word of God, the more we are supernaturally transformed. (2nd Cor. 3:18).
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17)
We must also mind our associations and what we feed our eyes and minds with as these may cause us to be ungodly (Psalm 1:1; 1st John 2:16).
Benefits of Godliness Exercise
The third verse of Psalm 1 summarizes the profits of godliness exercise: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” The Holy Spirit works in the life of a godly believer to maintain a sound mind, build supernatural strength, exude the fruit of the Spirit (love, peace, kindness, self-control etc) and manifest the abilities of God thereby positively impacting the society at large.
For you to engage in godliness exercise, you must have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Say this prayer of salvation: Lord Jesus, I accept that I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sin. Come into my heart. I receive You as my Lord and Savior; I believe that You came, died for me and rose again to save me. Conform me to Your likeness. I declare that I am born again. Amen!