But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. - 1Ti 4:7-9 NKJV
This verse first hit a chord with me…and, subsequently, blessed me when I studied it in bible college years ago. I was struck by how we can latch onto things that CAN be good, in and of itself, but are not as profitable as things that ARE good.
Do you see the different? One has the potential of BEING good, whereas the other IS good. Intrinsically.
Exercising your body falls under the former category. It has potential to be good. For some, it has a greater potential for being bad. It can quickly lead someone down an idolatrous path and become the contrary of good (*this also pertains to many other things for many other people: food, cleaning, reading, sports, etc.).
Seeking godliness, however, is of the latter category. It *IS* good. Never has exercising yourself towards godliness led someone in the wrong direction. Never has it brought them to a wrong path, forced them into a wrong situation, or shown them the wrong way.
When we exercise ourselves towards godliness, we are strengthening the spiritual body we have, reducing the fat of neutrality and complacency and building muscles of wisdom, grace, understanding, and love.
Does this make bodily exercise bad? Of course not. This verse simply paints a picture for us between things in our lives that ARE good, and should always be practiced, verses things in our lives that COULD be good, but aren’t always going to be the greatest profit. Not only that, those things that CAN be good also have a potential of swinging in the opposite direction and end up having a negative impact as well.
And tonight I am forced to take a look at those things in my life that CAN be good and ask myself: where is the profit? Because, if I see no profit in those things, why should I leave them sitting there, taking up room, when I can be exercising myself towards godliness and see the profit both now and to come.
…I’m also forced to ask myself about those potentially good things that aren’t in my life…am I avoiding something out of fear of it becoming something negative?
(and, lets be honest, am I using this verse as an excuse to not exercise?!)