Throughout my life, I’ve gone through seasons when I’ve been really motivated to work out. When I was in high school I just wanted to be buff enough to impress girls (I failed). In the months before my wedding I was trying to work on my honeymoon beach body. These days, I’m just trying to make sure I live past my twenties. My motivations have changed over the years, but what hasn’t changed is how fickle those motivations are.
Maybe you’re naturally motivated to work out—shout out to my friends who post pics and videos of their training regimen each day. But if you’re like me, your motivations go up and down like a kid on a trampoline. What if the results from your work out lasted forever, ho? Would you be more motivated?
Hard Work Pays Off
During the Winter Olympics last month I was in awe as I watched lightning quick bobsledders and highflying snowboarders. I was impressed by their athletic excellence, but I was even more impressed when I thought about the disciplined training it must have taken to get there.
At the end of each event when the victorious athletes stood on the winner’s podiums, with smiles on their faces and medals resting on their chests, they were reaping the benefits of their training. But according to the Bible, there’s a superior kind of training—not because physical training is worthless, but because it’s limited.
If you’ve ever wondered what God thinks about your workouts, here’s the answer: He thinks it has beneficial, but limited, value. So while you’re running, doing drills, and lifting weights, rest in the knowledge that it’s a good thing to do. Keeping your body in good shape is commendable—even wise—but it’s only going to get you so far.
This is what the Apostle Paul said to Timothy:
“But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
We could sum up Paul’s thoughts on working out like this: Physical training is good, but spiritual training is better. And that’s because physical strength is temporary, while godliness is eternal. When Paul talks about “training for godliness” I think he means doing the things that make you spiritually stronger. It means engaging in the activities that make you more godly. Maybe lifting our Bible is even less desirable than lifting a weight, but neglecting it means we miss out on more than good health.
Forever Is Better than A Moment
We all know that when something lasts longer it’s more desirable. No one buys a car knowing it’ll break down the following month. We’d rather buy something that lasts a while, because we’ll get more out of the investment. But if we’re so calculated with decisions about cars, how much more calculated should we be about our souls?
How often do you think about your eternity? Qhov tseeb yog qhov tseeb, we should think about it more than we do. There’s no question that all of us will live forever; the question is what that forever will be like. So we should make investments now, knowing that the consequences will never end.
This should impact what we focus on from day to day. Sports are good, but they’re not everything. Your physical strength may get you into college, but it won’t get you into Heaven. You should take good care of your body, but we have something weightier to care for. How healthy is your soul?
How To Train
God enables us to build “spiritual muscle” when we let go of sin and grab a hold of Jesus. And then he sends us to the gym. He’s graciously given us his word, his people, and even his ear. So let’s read, fellowship, and pray. Athletes train hard because they want to be prepared for the game or match ahead of them. They want to be able to compete at a high level.
All of us will face spiritual tests, trials, and battles everyday. Are you prepared? Coasting doesn’t work for athletes and it won’t work for Christians. Last year’s Bible reading isn’t enough to sustain you this year. We’ll only make it through this marathon by God’s grace, but he prepares us for the race through our spiritual exercise.
It’s helpful for me to remember that while the benefits of physical training are limited, the benefits of spiritual training are unlimited. On those days when I don’t feel like praying or reading God’s Word, I can remind myself that the benefit isn’t small or temporary. It won’t only help me next week, it will help me in the next life. That’s all the motivation I need.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 10:40 AM
This truly blessed me…!!!Thank YOU!!& God Bless you….thank you for allowing the lord to use you.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 10:42 AM
Thanks for this good word, Txawv tebchaws.
Daniel DryIce Reyes
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 10:44 AM
Trip thank you for this. For the past week I’ve been fearing death. I don’t know why but I do. I really needed to be reminded that heaven is the best thing ever and this earth won’t get me anything.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 10:47 AM
Qhov no yog txaus! Thanks fam! You a beast!
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 11:06 AM
Thanks for this bit of encouragement! It is easy for some of us to become obsessed with eating healthy and exercising. But do you spend more time planning your meals and at the gym, than in times of prayer and study of the Word? It’s easy to have your priorities messed up, even on the mission field.
Blessings in Christ to all!
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 1:18 PM
kuv pom zoo ib yam thiab. The spiritual fitness/exercise is FAR more important than any physical fitness/exercise, but I ALSO believe that both can be done at the same time as well. I know there is a fine line between working out for yourself and working out for God, but there is a difference (believe it or not). Working out for God, physically, includes the spiritual element. For instance, when you have a workout partner, you two talk periodically when you workout together. Imagine if, when you two talk, it isn’t about a pump, your muscles, thiab lwm yam. Instead, when you talk, speak from your heart, and have fellowship with one another in Christ. The physical working out may be a common interest for those in the gym, but if you add the spiritual aspect, your fitness with go to an unearthly level (right where we are supposed to be), spreading the love of Christ. Colossians 3:17
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 1:34 PM
It amazes me how The Lord speaks in so many different ways. I was wrestling with the thought of “I should work out today” but was feeling like I fail at this area over and over again and somewhat feel it can be wasted time if it’s not something continuous in my life. Reading this blog was a reminder from God that He>I and when I focus on Him and train spiritually, I feel so much better and trust that it’s not time wasted. I think staying healthy is important but I know that digging into His word and seeking him is well worth every second of our life. Time with God is never wasted. Thanks for being obedient to what Christ has called you to share. Kuv xav tau no. God bless You and your family Trip!
Hli mus txawv tebchaws
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 4:28 PM
Absolutely, every single second is worth it. Glad you could be encouraged!
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 2:00 PM
Good stuff bro
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 3:18 PM
hey trip, ummm thats deeply motivating byitself
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 3:43 PM
Man this is awesome stuff, I love what you stand for. I love learning from your teachings in your music and now your book “Lub neej zoo”.
Hli mus txawv tebchaws
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 4:26 PM
Glad you could be encouraged. And I hope the book can be helpful for you in many ways!
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 4:25 PM
Qhov no yog txaus. The two things I hope to gain and retain this year and yet I struggle with the one that is far more important than the other. Tsaug mus txawv tebchaws, your timely blogs have been very inspiring, and they constantly point me back to Superstar.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 5:16 PM
Bro this is what I needed. I’ve been struggling and fighting with the spirit for the last couple of days. Just forgot to pray, read my bible, and even go to church. This is a wake up call. From now on I’m a changed man in Christ. I even thought God will n longer listen to me because of my ungodly life. Jesus died on the cross for me and I know I’m always welcome in his presence and he is just and faithful to forgive me from my sins.
Bro I thank God for your life and the great work he he’s doing through you. God bless you for accepting his works.
Stay blessed my brother.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 5:31 PM
Point well taken! ua tsaug! =o)
Lub peb hlis ntuj 11, 2014 / ntawm 5:47 PM
blessed and motivated by this. Tsaug mus txawv tebchaws!
Lub peb hlis ntuj 12, 2014 / ntawm 12:00 AM
Trip your posts always reach me at the perfect time. Keep letting God work through you my friend
Lub peb hlis ntuj 12, 2014 / ntawm 2:18 AM
Definitely needed this bro. Thanks for the encouragement.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 12, 2014 / ntawm 3:28 AM
deeeeep struff TRiP, not something we usually talk about. Please, keep your posts coming.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 12, 2014 / ntawm 1:06 PM
Lub peb hlis ntuj 13, 2014 / ntawm 12:26 PM
This is my life that i am adapting myself in to, God Bless y Trip!!
Lub peb hlis ntuj 13, 2014 / ntawm 12:35 PM
Lub peb hlis ntuj 13, 2014 / ntawm 9:54 PM
Right on time brother. ua tsaug! thov Vajtswv foom koob hmoov rau koj!
Lub peb hlis ntuj 19, 2014 / ntawm 5:14 PM
Asmees. Thank you for sending this message. We all need it. Praise God.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 24, 2014 / ntawm 2:09 AM
God bless you for this.. I pray you find motivation and encouragement in yur time of need… Asmees
Lub peb hlis ntuj 24, 2014 / ntawm 7:13 PM
Good Stuff. Great verse.
Lub peb hlis ntuj 26, 2014 / ntawm 6:55 PM
Thanks for your faithfulness to The Lord trip. I think you need to write a second book.
Tim 1, 2014 / ntawm 11:45 AM
I think this is very relevant in our culture today. How often do you see people at the gym for hours? Txawv tebchaws, I work at the YMCA and I see the same people day in and day out for at least an hour of working out, but generally more than that. And it gets you thinking, there’s probably a lot of Christians that come into my Y (We’re the largest in Indiana), so how many of them are spending 1-2 hours a day engaging themselves in spiritual activity? This is relevant to me because it’s the call out I needed to get back in shape physically and spiritually. Thank you brother.
Vaj tswv foom koob hmoov,
Tim 2, 2014 / ntawm 12:20 AM
Asmees, thanks for the reminder!
Tim 17, 2014 / ntawm 6:39 AM
This is a word on time! Vaj tswv foom koob hmoov!
Tim 26, 2014 / ntawm 4:38 AM
This is a word-for-a-season. In a culture there are so many social pressures to look good and for guys to be fit and ‘buff’, we can get so caught up in what we think we should be like, in what others tell us we need to look like.
Saying that God thinks that workouts have limited value is spot on, compared to the eternity we can spend with God.
This reminds me of David’s story when he is anointed king by Samuel 1 Xa-muyees 16). God says in verse 7, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Tej zaum 17, 2014 / ntawm 2:05 AM
Really encouraging Trip! Anything that gets me closer to God truly brings me happiness and strengthen me! So thank you man. I really appreciate you. I’ll keep praying for you :)
Lub rau hli ntuj 21, 2014 / ntawm 10:27 AM
Trip I am big into working out, but I have to remind myself to read this post every once in a while. Helps keep me focused on what really matters
Lub Xya hli ntuj 4, 2014 / ntawm 9:33 AM
Wow as a fellow blogger I love the content of this. I am a workout buff but it comes easier than sometimes finding the time to pick up my Word daily. I then wonder why I don’t stand up to trials like I should. Awesome reminder. Tsaug mus txawv tebchaws
Lub Xya hli ntuj 21, 2014 / ntawm 6:22 PM
This is really encouraging and it has been something that’s been on my mind. I don’t read my Bible everyday, in fact, I could go for 2 los sis 3 days without getting in touch with God’s Word…but now I know that I’m denying myself eternal benefits. It means so much to me that what I read today will help me next week or next month. I can’t rely on what I did last year, or last week…I’m working out for my eternity!!
Godliness has value for ALL THINGS holding promise for both the present life and the life to come!
Tsaug dawm lis, for letting God work through you…Imma read the Word more! :)
Kaum ib hlis 20, 2014 / ntawm 12:26 PM
Love this post! I love exercise & I love God but I know that my spiritual fitness is my priority.
Tim 14, 2015 / ntawm 6:33 PM
that was awesome message Trip, I have always wondered whether working out is wrong or not or simply unnecessary. Your analysis clears the air on that one. Thanx, keep BRAGING BRO!!