My husband thinks I am obsessed with exercise. My early morning walks are special to me, and are spiritual as well as physical for me, especially this time of year, when the sun is rising and the birds are singing when I’m walking. Maybe I am obsessed. I do know that morning exercise has become part of my daily routine, as much so as brushing my teeth or my morning devotional time. If there was a “Rule of Ann” (like the rule of St. Benedict) I’m pretty sure it would include exercise as the day-beginning activity.
In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul tells his protégé: Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. Am I as obsessed with my training for godliness as I am my physical training? I do have my devotional practices, but how well do I live out my faith in the world each day? Would others consider me spiritually fit?
Last Sunday in his sermon, our pastor Tommy Mason asked us whether others would call us Christian. He referenced the church at Antioch, where the believers were first called Christian, not by themselves, but by those who observed them. They were in training for godliness and it showed to others.
How exactly do I train for godliness? It is a question I have been asking myself this week. I know how to create an exercise plan for physical exercise, but I am wrestling with how to create an exercise plan for godliness.
I do know this—without intentionality on my part, I can become spiritually flabby just as I can become physically flabby if I don’t have an exercise plan and stick to it. Practicing John Wesley’s means of grace is likely a good starting place. Training for godliness includes the inward works of piety and the outward works of mercy. Using these, I can develop a training plan, and I pray I will become more obsessed with training for godliness than with physical training!