"Bodily exercise is all right, but spiritual exercise is much more important."
- 1 Timothy 4:7 TLB
When I went to the doctor a while back for a routine physical, he remarked on how firm my upper abdominal muscles were. I told him that I had been doing some back exercises that I had learned in physical therapy years ago, when I began having problems after the birth of my first child. They're not difficult exercises, and it only takes me about five minutes to perform them. But I do them every single day, without fail. I was pondering these things recently, when the Lord spoke to my heart about how "exercising" spiritually can have similar benefits. He reminded me of the Scripture that says: "Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next." (1 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT) How do we exercise spiritually? We set aside time each day to meet alone with God. We use this time to pray undistracted prayers. We praise Him. We read His Word, and we ask Him to speak to our hearts. Maybe you think that investing only five minutes a day in spiritual exercises like these won't amount to much. And you're right--IF you only do them once in a while. BUT, if you do these things every single day, without fail, I guarantee that you will see God move in your life like never before.
Sometime ago, I began having terrible pains radiating down my back and into my feet. I was limping badly, and I went to see my foot doctor. He examined me and told me that I was a good candidate for back surgery. Hearing such disturbing news made me seek the Lord more earnestly about my suffering. He reminded me that I had recently begun to slack off in doing my daily back exercise routine. I couldn't believe that the answer could be so simple, but when I got back to diligently doing my physical therapy exercises, all of my pain disappeared. Likewise, when we fail to spend time with God daily, our fellowship with Him, and our spiritual health, begin to suffer. We become easy targets for Satan's temptations, accusations, and deceptions. And our burdens become unbearable. Overall, we become weak in spirit. Scripture tells us: "The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?" (Proverbs 18:14 AMP) In other words, being strong in spirit will enable us to rise above our circumstances when the daily problems of life try to weigh us down.
I believe that once you experience the extraordinary rewards of spending time with God each day, you will want to increase your time with Him. That's what happened to me many years ago. At first, I began forcing myself to have daily quiet times with the Lord, and I watched the clock as I did so. Today, I couldn't even tell you how much time I spend with God each day, because I enjoy my moments with Him so much. The devil will try to convince you that you're too busy to devote time to the Lord. He'll tell you that spending only five minutes with God is a waste of time, and it won't amount to anything. But God's Word clearly states that "He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]." (Hebrews 11:6 AMP) The Lord can do a lot with a little. When He sees you making the effort to spend time with Him, and to get to know Him better, He will bless you for it. The Message Bible says, "Exercise daily in God--no spiritual flabbiness, please!" (1 Timothy 4:7) Start doing your spiritual workouts right now, and begin reaping the benefits that come from investing just five minutes a day!
Prayer: Lord, I want to be strong in spirit so that I can be all that You created me to be, and accomplish all that You've created me to do. Fill my heart with a growing passion for Your presence and Your Word. Thank You that as I diligently seek You each day, I'll experience life at its very best!
- J. M. Farro