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Medical experts tell us that physical activity has many benefits: it helps us live longer and healthier; reduces heart disease and stroke; helps protect us from certain cancers; helps prevent type 2 diabetes; improves the mind, heart, lungs, and sleep. These are just some benefits from physical exercise. Yet the Apostle Paul urges us to recognize an even greater value of spiritual exercise, because spiritual exercise has value in this life as well as in the one to come. So he urged Timothy not to neglect spiritual exercise—a discipline that includes studying the Scriptures so we can understand what God wants us to know; it also involves living out the truths we find in the Bible. Paul told Timothy to make sure his conduct matched his teaching, that his walk was consistent with his talk. Paul said we can do this because our strength and hope resides in the living God. Our hope is not just wishful thinking for a better day; it is based on God’s character who keeps every promise He makes. In 1 Timothy chapter 4, Paul says it is his confidence in God’s reliability that drives him to work so hard, and even to suffer. So the best antidote for laziness and despair is exercise—the exercise of our minds and hearts on the hope we have in the living God.

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