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1 Timothy 4:8 AMP
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

TRUTH:
My life experience has taught me that physical training and exercise, like most other things in this world is of some value when handled in moderation, but is detrimental when in excess or when not done as part of a balanced life.

For example, when I used to spend a great deal of focus on maintaining my physical fitness, I also became very prideful about my body. When I liked my own body, I also noticed that the other sex liked my body, and it led me down a path of one night stands, sleeping with coworkers, sleeping with wives and girlfriends of others, sleeping with random women that I met while traveling, cheating on my wife, and worse. And each of these may sound exciting to that young boy like I was (with no wisdom), but each and every one had a price and a consequence.

Sometimes that consequence was the emptiness and loneliness that it left me with afterwards. Sometimes that consequence required antibiotics from the doctor. Sometimes that consequence affected another person’s relationship or marriage in horrible ways. Once, it ended in divorce. And maybe forever, it left me with a reputation that you don’t trust Hop around your wife.

And at times, I found myself almost obsessed with my fitness. I would say that my focus was “being healthy”, but my focus was clearly “looking healthy”. And the time that I spent dedicated to hours at the gym was far in excess of the hours that I spent dedicated to my family, or my God, or helping and serving others – because it was all about me.

And where we spend our time and how we spend our money is a great reflection of what is a priority in our lives. Keep a daily journal of how much time you spend doing different things one week. If you need humility in your life, then tally up the hours based on whether it is focused on earning money (job), spending quality time with family, spending time with close friends,  spending time with acquaintances, relaxing/entertainment, self improvement, helping/serving others, spending time with God. Then do the same thing with your checking account.

I’m betting that most of us have God a lot closer to last than first on that list. I’m also betting that most of us have time that could be better spent helping and serving others and spending quality time with our family and loved ones. Or maybe it’s just me and everyone else has this life ironed out, spotless, and free from wrinkles.

HOPE:
But you see, there is Hope for you and I. When I had no direction and ignored guidance and advice from those wiser than myself (and there are so many so much wiser, that I thought at the time to just be foolish prudes), it landed me in all kinds of consequences and situations that were uncomfortable and unpleasant and sometimes quite dark and lonely and troubling and shameful. And for a while, I was running from the very light that could save me from the pain and struggle – feeling the emptiness of a life trying to fill a Christ sized hole with something else.

Because while we do not have to measure up to the perfect life of Christ, we can find guidance and comfort and conviction to protect us from these things and find balance when we have Christ in the center of our life.

I have seen a people draw close to Christ and be brought through the damaging consequences of unfaithfulness, of adultery, of sexual addiction, of addiction to pornography, of addiction to self, of pride. Yes, He has the power to overcome if we surrender our lives to believing in Christ, seeking God’s will and purpose for our lives, and walking it out.

And I am no longer that same lost sinner without any hope, trapped and controlled by my sinful nature. Now I have found a renewed life in Christ and I don’t want that sin to be a part of my life anymore. That doesn’t mean that I don’t encounter temptation when a girl in yoga pants is in front of me at the store. But what it does mean is that I am not excited to get to lust after those things that aren’t mine to touch and taste – those things that I used to thirst for, I now know them to be poison, and I avoid them.

FAITH:
And this life in Christ is not just the butterfly moment of salvation and renewal, but if we are going to walk it out on the outside, we need to examine those things on the inside that aren’t quite right in our lives. That is where faithful time spent with God, making Him a priority in our lives, makes a difference. Spending time in the Word of God really studying, and using that to examine my life,  that is where Spiritual exercise takes place.

Asking –

What is the TRUTH about my own life – am I falling short in this area, do I remember a time when this was a struggle in my life?

Have I find HOPE in this area – do I know an example where His word has been proven true in this area, either in my life or someone else’s?

Am I relying on my FAITH in God in this area – am I seeking His guidance and His will and His purpose when it comes to this area of my life?

Do others see His LOVE shining forth in this area of my life, reflecting my dedication to honoring God with my life?

LOVE:
We get there by deciding to step out of the darkness and into the light of a life washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, seeking His will and purpose for the renewing of our hearts and minds, and walking it out in a renewed life, step by step, demonstrating our faithfulness and dedication to this God who loves us and forgives us and has mercy on us because we are His, not because we are 51% good and 49% bad – but because our works are 100% worthless in the eyes of God – but if we have faith,  His works through us can be 100% glorious.

So we DO need to look at those tallies of our time and our money and how it is being spent. Not because it is a measuring stick of whether we have met a mark of 51% good, but as a solemn reminder of how short it falls from being 100%. And if we are not humbled, let our hardened hearts be softened. And if we are humbled, let it be evident in a change in our focus, our actions, and our service to God today.

ADDITIONAL READING:
http://www.openbible.info/topics/spiritual_growth

Colossians 1:9-10 ESV
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

1 Peter 2:1-25 ESV
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. …

2 Peter 3:18 ESV
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Matthew 5:6 ESV
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.