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Does Exercise Even Matter In The Christian Life?

During a recent Twitter Q&A session, someone asked Tim Keller what keeps his passion for the gospel so white-hot, and his energy so high.

“Exercise,” said Keller. And in parenthesis he added “treadmill.”

Apparently, Keller is a runner.

At first his answer stunned me. Then after quick reflection, it made sense.

To be sure, that was the second part of his answer. In his first part, he was quick to admit that reflection and meditation on the Scriptures is what fuels his fire. But we shouldn’t take lightly that Keller added exercise.

Photo Credit: Via Comfight CC
Photo Credit: Via Compfight CC

Paul writes to Timothy:

 “…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” (1 Timothy 4:8).

Paul says physical training is of some value. What he doesn’t say that physical training is of no value. It’s helpful for this side of things. But godliness, on the other hand, says Paul, is of value in every way — both in the present life, and life after death. The point is clear: godliness is more important than physical training, but physical training is not irrelevant.

This is no secret if you pay attention to how God has wired our bodies. Study after study shows that exercise boosts energy levels, alleviates depression and anxiety, helps with stress, fights off fat, and can even elevate mood. And that’s just a short list of a myriad of benefits.

But you already knew that. You’ve heard that a hundred times.

The question is: are you implementing this in your life?

Personally, I like to lift-weights, eat healthy, and do cardio three times a week. This is what works for me. And trust me: When I neglect this area of my life, I notice a negative impact on my body and mind. My energy is low, I feel prolong feelings of sadness, I get anxious quicker, I can’t pray and read as energetically. I’m just not myself.

How about you?

If you’re not already doing so, I’d like to encourage you to start exercising. Pick something you like: running, weight-lifting, basketball, walking, swimming, or whatever. Just pick something, stick to it regularly, and enjoy the benefits. You’ll find yourself more energized for all spiritual and personal disciplines. Your life — and the lives of the people around you — will be better because of it.

God won’t love you more if you get a six pack. And if you become a runner, I can’t promise your life will become like Keller’s. But I am certain that a regular exercise regime can benefit any Christian in more ways than one. Especially if you are not already doing this.

Ready to go for a run?

Questions and Comments: Do you find exercise to be helpful for your life? What kind of exercises do you like to do? Post your comments below.

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