By Allen Teal Rolla Presbyterian Manor chaplain
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8, NIV).
“No pain—no gain” and “feel the burn” are mottos for serious athletes. “Gain without pain” is a more honest motto for the rest of us. When the New Testament was being written, days filled with long hours of hard work were normal. Little need existed for extra exercise. With the exception of soldiers and athletes, the Bible all but ignores physical training for the average person. It says plenty about spiritual growth and training.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” ― Tony Robbins
Spiritual training develops strong Christian character. Training is about change. Change is hard. We will almost always pick the route through life that is shorter and easier. Taking the wrong road is easy. Most people have made a wrong turn during a long car trip. It may take you miles away from your destination. If the road doesn’t end up where you want to be, it doesn’t matter how nice it is along the way. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12, NIV). This death is spiritual not physical.
Physically, it is easy to sit on the sofa and do nothing.
The bad things that come from long-term inactivity are myriad. The book of Proverbs describes one outcome of coasting along through life. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:33-34, NIV). Too much idleness can weaken the limbs, the heart, and the mind. Staying active is an important part of maintaining a high quality of life.
Spiritual inactivity leads to a lessening of our relationship with God.
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26, NIV). This text is a conclusion to a passage that describes various Christian works. He makes it clear that active faith is living faith. The actions may be good deeds, Godly works, or steps of faith that require the believer to trust God. Just as an athlete has a training regimen to stay competitive, Christians need to put faith into action every day to remain strong and continue growing.