January 31, 2015
READ: 1 Timothy 4:1-16
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come (v.8).
I like to write out my thoughts before I type them. But when I use an old pen that rolls roughly across the paper, my thoughts thump along in fits and starts. When I can’t squeeze the ink out, I can’t squeeze the words out, and I quickly toss the pen aside for a better one. A free-flowing pen opens my mind, and the words often come pouring out as fast as I can write them.
I’m not surprised that the operation of my mind depends on the quality of my pen. I’m a physical being, so it’s natural for my body to have a direct line into my soul. Our bodies influence our spiritual lives in at least two ways:
1. Healthy bodies promote healthy souls. Paul was assuming the benefits of physical exercise when he told Timothy that spiritual training is even better. He recognised the importance of a healthy body and instructed Timothy “to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often” (1 Timothy 5:23). A healthy, fit body can help provide vigour and alertness as we strive to attain a more disciplined soul.
2. Body posture changes the posture of our souls. In C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, a demon told his protégé that kneeling in prayer tends to bow the heart before God. The demon must persuade Christians “that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls.”
God gave us baptism so that our whole being could symbolically experience dying and rising with Christ. And He gave us the Lord’s Supper, where the bread and cup impress our hunger for Jesus deep into our souls. May these things that involve the use of our bodies help us stay spiritually strong.
365-day plan› Exodus 1:8-2:10
Read Nehemiah 8:1-18 to learn how various physical acts contribute to worship.
How does a healthy body affect your faith? What postures or lack of discipline hinder your spiritual life?