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12 Spiritual Reasons Why You’ll Want to Exercise Regularly

12 Spiritual Reasons to Exercise Regularly

There are many reasons why people chose either to or not to exercise.  But most of the time, those reasons don’t have too much to do with God.  In reality, there are many spiritual reasons why exercise is beneficial to us.  In fact, exercise can be considered a spiritual practice that honors God.  Let’s explore 12 spiritual reasons why we should all consider adding regular exercise to our weekly routines.

exerciseTom Pickering/ Freeimages.com
  • To keep yourself healthy.

    Our lives are a gift and when we take care of our bodies through healthy choices, we are honoring God.  We take care of our bodies when we give them good fuel (food and drink), and do routine maintenance (exercise).  Wisdom tells us to take care of the body we are given, because we only get one and it will eventually wear out.

  • To discipline yourself.

    The Bible is filled with verses that discuss discipline.  One of my favorites is Hebrews 12: 11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  In today’s world, many people often prefer to choose freedom to discipline.  But, as the scripture says, when you sow seeds of discipline, you produce righteousness and peace.  I don’t know about you, but I can sure use more peace in my life!

  • To stay physically attractive to your spouse.

    This third reason is very practical.  If we’re married, God desires us to stay married to our mate.  Marriages are not always easy and can end for many reasons.  So, we need to do what we can to keep the relationship together.  When we don’t take care of ourselves and look our best, eyes can stray.  Then the guy or gal across the hall may start to look more attractive and before you know it, a desire for something better may kick in.  Take care of yourself, and keep your mate’s eyes on you.

  • To be prepared for anything God calls you to do.

    If you truly want to be available for any job that the Lord might need you to do, you’ll have to be physically fit enough to do any job.  We don’t get to choose what we were designed for or what specific task God may need us to complete.  If that were the case, we’d probably all choose something that we would consider enjoyable.  Things like being a cruise director, Hawaiian tour guide, or a member of the beach patrol might be high on the list.  But, what would the world be like with no one to complete difficult, or unpleasant tasks?  As a nurse, I know I’ve cleaned up more bodily fluids than I ever could have imagined.  It’s not something I would have chosen to do.  But I’m sure most of the sick clients I cared for appreciated my availability.

  • To set an example for children.

    Whether you have children personally or not, the children in our world need good role models.  There are plenty of poor role models out there and it is an honorable thing to make sure young ones see the best we have to offer.  Do you want your children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and friends learning how long someone can sit in the same spot without getting a bedsore?  Heck no!  We want them to see us taking good care of ourselves, so we can be the best we can be!

  • To send the right message to others.

    Setting a good example is not only for those younger than we are.  It’s admirable to inspire other people of every race, creed, color, and age that self-care is a priority.  And when they see the positive changes in your life due to your conscious choices, they may be more motivated to achieve physical success as well.  As we read in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters.”

  • To remove obstacles.

    Yesterday I needed to get a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope that had been stored inside a door, inside a locked office, and behind a chair.  I could have just said that I was sorry I couldn’t get it; there were too many obstacles in the way.  Instead, I found the person with the key, moved the chair, opened the drawer, and got it!  Similarly, exercise can be helpful in removing obstacles in life too.  Have you ever not wanted to eat in front of others because you were afraid they thought you were fat and overeating?  Have you ever not want to go to a special event because you had nothing nice to wear?   Start exercising and you’ll begin chipping away at any obstacles your body size or shape has been for you.

  • To sleep better and be more energetic.

    In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we read, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Although the verses that follow are rather specific, such as their being “a time to plant, and a time to uproot,” it’s fun to imagine the “everything” that is not spelled out.  For example, there is a time to play x-box, and a time to do the dinner dishes.  Or perhaps, there is a time to study and a time to take a test.  I imagine that this verse could easily add, “there’s a time to exercise, and there’s a time to relax!” 

    There's a time to exercise, and there's a time to relax! Click To Tweet

  • To avoid leading others into temptation.

    I’m not talking about convincing your best friend to try marijuana here!  I’m just pointing out that when we have bad habits, we’re most likely to encourage others to follow in those footsteps.  If I routinely eat greasy cheeseburgers at midnight, I’m probably going to invite you to join me.  If I enjoy yelling at the television when a player makes a bad move, you might be inclined to join me in a verbal outburst too.  The same goes for exercise.  If I go for a walk or to the gym, I could invite you to join me.  Maybe we’ll run side by side on the treadmill or sit next to each other at a cycle class.  It’s a better option than pepperoni pizza and beer in a smoke invested establishment.

  • To reduce wasteful spending.

    When our waistlines expand on an annual basis, so do our charge card expenses for new clothes.  A trend in the United States is to gain one to two pounds every year unless you take measures to prevent this.  So, even if your clothes are not worn out, before too long they won’t fit you anymore.  Certainly, it’s nice to get some new clothes once in a while.  And if your finances can afford it, you may choose to get some new clothes every season.  But choosing to spend money this way and having no choice are very different things.  Choosing to exercise is choosing to be a wise steward of money.

  • To improve you mood.

    Studies have shown that exercise improves your general feeling of well-being and can really improve your mood.  Have you ever met a miserable church person?  The kind that refuses to smile as it might crack their face.  Have you listened to a person who gets mad at you if you inconvenience them in any way?  Surely, the Jesus that gave His life to pay the price for our sins does not want miserable followers.  Start exercising for Jesus, and leave the grumpiness behind!

  • To be more social and joyful.

    Although some people (myself included) do enjoy exercising alone in the basement.  There are also many opportunities to be social and show others your joy during exercise.  Have you heard of Color Runs or Mud Runs?  Having red, yellow, and green thrown on you, or bathing in mud add some spice to your exercise life!  Even if you prefer something a little more subdued, you can join a group exercise class, lift weights next to strangers at the gym, or even grab a friend and go for a walk outdoors.  If you’re someone who thrives on social interaction, make sure you choose exercise that also gives you the opportunity to hang out with others!  You’ll find the rest of us in the basement!

Reflection Questions

  1. Were any of the 12 items listed above something you had not thought of before?
  2. Which item was most meaningful to you?
  3. Are you ready to get started exercising for Jesus this year?

References

American Heart Association (2015).  Physical activity improves quality of life.

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Who Said That? Where the Voices Inside your Head are Coming From!

Who Said That? Where the Voices Inside your Head are Coming From!

Sometimes the voices we hear inside our heads can be quite confusing.  They sound legitimate and they appear to be based on facts.  But, there are times when thoughts are very disturbing and cause confusion and chaos for us.  These voices may prompt us to become fearful.  They may beat us down stirring depression and hopelessness.  Other times, they instigate bad decisions or guide us down paths we will soon regret.  Friends, we can’t allow thoughts to toss us into the air like leaves on a windy day.  We need to determine where those thoughts are coming from.  Then we need to consciously decide what to do with them.

voicesNebraska Department of Education/ Pixabay.com

Where Inner Voices Come From

Most of us get fooled into thinking that anything we think about is true.  I can remember being in grade school and believing that everything I read was true.  That worked for a while until I learned enough to realize that things in writing often contradict other written things.  It’s also easy to believe everything you hear is true too.  Once again, critical thinking blows that idea apart too.  Take the political campaigns for example; it’s not possible to believe that the same candidate is both the best and the worst person for the job at the same time!

It is equally preposterous to believe that everything we think is true.  Instead, we have to run it through our “truth meter” and determine where our thoughts are coming from and whether they are believable.  Thoughts generally come from one of three places:  the Lord God, the spiritual enemy, Satan, or ourselves.  While all of these voices have a purpose in our life, the one that matters most are the thoughts that come directly from God!

Run it through the truth meter and determine where the thoughts are coming from... Click To Tweet

Godly Thoughts

If you’re not in the habit of communicating with God directly, this may sound a bit odd to you.  The important thing to realize is that the Bible is filled with evidence of God speaking to His people.  It’s not something new and it still happens today.  Sometimes God speaks through physical things, such as with Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:  1-4).  At times he uses angels to deliver important messages, as He did with the foretelling of Jesus’ birth (Luke 1: 26-28).  On other occasions, there may be visions and dreams, such as God promises in Joel 2:28.  Today we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom God uses to speak to us (John 16:13).

In a previous blog post and podcast, I spoke of my struggles with depression.  At one point, I cried out to God and asked Him to prove to me that He was real by fixing my problem.  Be careful what you ask for!  One week later, He spoke to me while reading a book.  It was simple message, “I heard you, and everything’s going to be alright.”  Immediately I physically felt weights lift off my shoulders.  I hadn’t been to church in years and the next Sunday I told my husband we were going.  In church I grabbed the microphone during a sharing time and announced to everyone what had happened to me.  I know that was the supernatural power of God at work in me.

Satanic Pondering

The first thing we have to address is whether the devil has access to our minds.  The answer is yes.  Once again, going to Scripture for guidance on this, we are instructed to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11 NIV).  Why would God make a point to tell us to “armor up” if there wasn’t a battle going on requiring armor?

Satan doesn’t have the same powers that God has, but his power to influence is very strong.  Several years ago, our church was involved in doing dramatic presentations to illustrate points.  One skit involved a woman trying to make a decision with an angel on one side and a demon on the other.  Every time the women thought about doing something, both of the extra voices would chime in.  In one instance, the woman saw someone she knew in the grocery store.  She pondered whether she should say hello or not.  The angel suggested it was a good idea and prompted her to connect.  The demon fed her lies that emphasized how bad of an idea it was.

Newsflash!  This type of internal spiritual battle happens all the time.  The next time you’re torn between two different courses of action, realize that you may be caught in the middle of an invisible war that requires the full armor of God!  For more on how to determine if something is of God or the enemy, I recommend reading this article by Roger Barrier.

Uncontrolled Self Thoughts

In addition to the spiritual forces of good and evil, there’s also the voice in our own minds to worry about.  In an ideal world, we would be able to rely on our own thoughts on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, like new shoes stepping in doggie doo, our minds routinely get soiled as we live life.  The way we think is shaped by our experiences and our personalities.

Each one of us has a tendency to go off track with our thinking from time to time.  Some of us may think we’re greater than we really are, whereas, others may struggle with a poor self-image.  Going down the rabbit hole in either direction is going to steer you away from the truth.

Action Plan

Now that we have established that our thoughts can come from three different places, the next thing we have to do is decide what to do with them.  Here’s a quick reference for you to follow.

  1. God – believe it wholeheartedly!
  2. Devil – get your battle armor ready & ignore it!
  3. Self – Run it through the “truth meter” and determine if any further action is needed 🙂

Reflection Questions

  1. Do you communicate with God as much as you would like to?  If not, make sure you’re putting time aside to listen to God, not only telling Him about all your troubles.
  2. Have you considered that there are evil forces working against you?
  3. Are self-thoughts getting in the way of you hearing and following the truth?

As always, if you would like to discuss this or any of the topics I have presented, please feel free to contact me and I would be honored to help you walk through some of the questions or problems you have.

References

Biblegateway.com

God, Self or Satan: What God’s Voice Sounds Like

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