Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

A Different Kind of Exercise


I’m naturally drawn to exercise. Stretches and jumps. Weightlifting, squats, and running. Um . . . actually not the kind of stretching, jumping, weightlifting, squats, or running that might have occurred to you. I’m actually the sort of person whose treadmill mocks me with a layer of dust. Then again, maybe points for owning a treadmill?

Anyway, sad to say, over the years I have practiced variations of those exercises. Maybe you have too, when tempted to. . .

  • stretch the truth
  • jump to conclusions
  • carry a weight of shame
  • squat in a pity party
  • run away from doing hard things

Not the kind of exercises I’m proud of.

But there’s another category of exercise Christians are called to practice, such as:

  • training ourselves for godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8)
  • exercising self-control (1 Cor. 9:25)
  • running the race of life with endurance (Heb. 12:1)
  • persevering in faith (2 Tim. 4:7)

I have friends who work out daily. Their gym routine is built into their schedule, not out of obligation or legalism, but because they value the results. Am I as committed to disciplining myself in the spiritual realm because I value those results? Do I avoid words such as training, exercising, endurance, and perseverance or am I “all in” spiritually? And do I practice the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, and meeting together with other Christians out of obligation, or because it’s part of who I am in Christ?

Hmmm . . . which brings me back to the dusty treadmill in my den. If I’m all in spiritually, and since I should reflect what I believe in how I live, guess it’s time for me to put that treadmill back to work, too!


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  1. Barb Haley

    Great application. Fits perfectly with my favorite guilt-absolving verse about not physically exercising more.

    1 Timothy 4:8
    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.

  2. Jennifer B

    I’m printing this and hanging it on my currently unused work-out equipment! But also hanging a copy on the shelf where I keep my Bible. Such a great comparison, especially the issue of whether I am all in. I am definitely inclined to pick and choose. Thanks so much for your encouragement, hugs.

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