Read 1 Timothy 4:1-8
If a man wants to be healthy, he must watch his food and exercise, and keep both in their proper proportion. Too much food without sufficient exercise will make a man overweight and sluggish, and too much exercise without the proper diet will make him sick.
What is true of the outer man physically is true of the inner man spiritually: the inner man needs the proper food and exercise. In verse 6 Paul names the nourishing food–the “words of faith and of good doctrine.” And he warns about the wrong diet–“profane and old wives’ fables” (v. 7), that is, the empty doctrines and traditions of men, doctrines that cannot be supported by the Word of God.
But along with spiritual food there must be exercise. Paul is not saying that bodily exercise is not profitable, because every man knows that it is. Rather, he is arguing that physical exercise is profitable only for a little time, while spiritual exercise is profitable in this life and in the life to come. The balanced Christian will invest his time in both, but he must remember that spiritual exercise must take the priority.
To “exercise unto godliness” means to put into practice the rules and requirements for a godly life. Certainly it includes prayer and witnessing, meditation on God’s Word, and the good works that the Spirit enables us to perform. It implies disciplining the life, exercising the conscience (Ac 24:16), and using the “spiritual senses” God has given us (Heb 5:14).
Food and exercise–these are the ingredients for a healthy Christian life.
(Copyright, Warren W. Wiersbe. First appeared in Thoughts for Men on the Move. May not be copied or reproduced without express written permission of the author.)
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).