TRAINING THE INNER MAN

June 22, 2010Read: 1 Timothy 4 "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." --1 Timothy 4:7-8

On yesterday's PrayFit Daily, we reminded ourselves about the perspective of fitness -- how this body and this life are not "The Mecca," but please read how our friend and PrayFit contributor Pastor Jimmy Page explains the intersection of faith and fitness. We trust you'll find it as inspiring as we did.

"I love the fact that Paul draws a comparison between physical and spiritual training. But most of us do one of two things with this passage – we either completely discount the benefits of physical training or we miss the fact that we should actually engage in spiritual training.

Neither of these responses is correct. Clearly, spiritual training in godliness is far superior to physical training. Eventually, our body is going to wear out and break down; thankfully, we will receive a new, incorruptible body in heaven! But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take care of everything that God has entrusted to us – including our bodies.

In fact, we are called to love God with all of our mind and strength. Our physical condition will have a direct impact on the clarity of our thinking, our moods, our emotions, our energy and our strength. Proper nutrition and exercise also help us prevent disease.

And for those of us that understand how important it is to be physically healthy, we often miss the fact that we need to train spiritually! That means we need a plan. And we need to sacrifice time, effort, and energy in order to get stronger in our relationship with God. It’s time that we do whatever it takes to renew our mind, hear from God, be refreshed, and combat the influence of our flesh and the world.

For some of us, if we trained physically like we do spiritually, we'd be morbidly obese. For others, if we trained spiritually like we do physically, we'd be missionaries."

ABOUT PASTOR JIMMY PAGE Jimmy serves as the Vice President of Field Ministry and National Director of Wellness for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). For nearly 20 years, he has been a leader in the medical fitness industry, operating wellness facilities affiliated with Sinai Hospital and Johns Hopkins. He currently hosts a daily radio segment and podcast called Fit Life Today, offering a blend of spiritual and physical health principles that promote abundant life. Page's book, "Wisdom Walks: 40 Life-Changing Principles to Live and Give," a field manual for mentoring the next generation, is available now.

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FORGET ABOUT EASY The path of least resistance is the wrong one when getting fit

Late night infomercials make us laugh for a number of reasons. Fitness-related products are particularly interesting because a great deal of them promise fitter bodies by making exercise easier. Well, getting stronger and healthier should be enjoyable, but it doesn't have to be easy. In fact, your body always responds better when challenged to do more -- not less. Here are a few ways you can build small challenges into your daily routine to make your body respond. Keep your credit card in your pocket, where it belongs.

1 TAKE MORE STEPS: Locomotion is one of the easiest ways to get your body working harder everyday. Park farther away when you arrive at work or school and especially the gym. When you head out to lunch, mix in a walk around the food court before settling on your fare. Make it part of your routine to walk with your spouse, partner, kids or pets every night after dinner.

2 TAKE THE STAIRS: As we've discussed previously, the legs contain a large percentage of your total musculature. So mix in additional work for them -- and burn more calories -- by taking the stairs whenever possible.

3 ALWAYS DO BREAKFAST: Yes, we're all in a hurry in the morning. But as you work to spend more time in the Word upon waking each day, you should also build in time for breakfast. Having a breakfast high in protein and healthy carbohydrates helps to wake up your metabolism, recover from yesterday's workout, sustain energy levels and promote satiety.

These are just a few of the ways you can challenge your body and get fitter each day.

Originally posted 3/23/10.