A Healthy Swap
Read 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Take some time to pray and reflect on your spiritual fitness. What are some disciplines you can focus on for training for godliness?
When it comes to getting healthy, we all know the basics. We know that we should choose fruits and vegetables over refined sugars and fried food. We know that we should choose vigorous exercise over sitting on the couch watching TV. We know that if we want to get in shape, we can’t just wish for it, we have to work for it. We have training to do. It’s a matter of being disciplined enough to do it.
When it comes to our spiritual health, the same thing is true. Most of us know what we need to do to grow spiritually. We need to read and study our Bibles. We need to set aside time for focused, intentional prayer. We need to meet with other believers who challenge and encourage us. We know that if we want to grow spiritually, it won’t just happen overnight. The truth is, we have training to do. It’s a matter of being disciplined enough to do it.
In today’s verses, Paul urged Timothy to train himself for godliness. The idea of training should make us think of an athlete getting into shape. If an athlete wants to be prepared and ready for the contest, they have to put in the work. They have to complete the reps and run the miles. They have to fuel their bodies with healthy food. They have to sacrifice other things in the pursuit of their goals. And they do it because they have their eyes on the prize.
But Paul said that this bodily training that athletes focus on is only beneficial in the here and now. We all know that our health and physical fitness is an important but fleeting thing. One day, we can run 3 miles without breaking a sweat. The next day, we are nursing a knee injury. Once upon a time we were young and called upon to do the heavy lifting. But the older we get, the more likely we are to hurt our backs getting out of bed. Our earthly bodies are temporary.
That is what makes pursuing our spiritual health so rewarding. Spiritual disciplines are eternal investments! They are always worth your time. You’ll never regret spending a few minutes in God’s Word! Time spent talking with God in prayer is always time well spent. What could we possibly be doing that matters more?
We know what we need to do to grow spiritually. But we aren’t always disciplined enough to make spiritually healthy choices. Changing our habits in one fell swoop can be overwhelming. That’s why many health coaches advocate for making “healthy swaps.” For example, enjoy a fruit smoothie instead of a dessert. Eat a wrap instead of a sandwich. Snack on nuts instead of chips. The idea is that you can overhaul your health one small healthy decision at a time.
Can we do the same with our spiritual lives? Of course! What if we swapped secular music on our drive to work for worship music, listening to an audio version of the Bible, or listening to a Bible teaching podcast? What if we swapped out a few minutes of screen time each day to devote to Bible study? What if we swapped 10 minutes of sleep with 10 minutes of prayer first thing every morning?
Friends, the reality is, spiritual growth doesn’t happen because of wishful thinking. Spiritual growth is the cumulative result of walking with the Lord every day and actively training yourself for godliness in His Word. He has given us everything that we need to learn and grow! But we have to choose it! When we do, we’ll find that Paul was right. There is nothing more valuable than our time spent learning and growing in Lord. Training in godliness has eternal worth! So today, I encourage you to make at least one healthy swap in order to increase your time in training today. It will be the best investment of your time that you ever make.
Lord, I want to keep growing and learning. Help me to identify areas of my life that I can swap out other activities for time spent training for godliness. Help me be disciplined and give me wisdom to make healthier spiritual choices. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
If you found value in this post, please share your comments, questions, and prayers with us!Discipleship Tip: Sharing is discipleship. Invite a friend to join you each day for a morning coffee and conversation about God. Click the sharing button below to get the conversation started.