“But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
This verse tells us:
Reject profane and old wives’ fables – don’t get caught up in myths or superstitions
Exercise yourself – we are empowered with the ability to establish life-changing spiritual exercises for ourselves
Toward godliness – the goal is Christlikeness in thought and action, and it is a process getting there
For bodily exercise profits a little – we want to be good stewards of our bodies, but there is something even more important to work out
But godliness is profitable for all things, having promise – exercising ourselves toward godliness is a “sure thing” investment
Of the life that now is – we will increase the manifestations of blessings during our time here on earth
And of that which is to come – we will also positively impact our heavenly experience
It is a good thing to have a good workout plan for our bodies, but it is far more beneficial to have a plan to systematically train ourselves spiritually. One of the main ways we do this is by repetitively rehearsing good beliefs. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). We do not renew our minds haphazardly, but like physical exercise, we are systematic in our workouts.
“Exercise yourself” Implies:
We can do this by ourselves
We can use concepts from physical fitness workouts to structure our spiritual workouts
We are to develop this as a habit
Consistency will create great benefits for us
One of my favorite spiritual exercise plans is reciting and rehearsing the 25 Declarations to Increase Influence and Leadership. By declaring some or all of these every day, we will firm up our beliefs and access the promises shared in the verses above. This list identifies important beliefs we are to have for godly living, plus a declaration for each one to exercise and work out with. Here are a few examples:
Adaptability – I will thrive no matter what happens. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Solutions – In every situation I face, I have many options, solutions, and divine ideas. There is always a solution. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Soul Prosperity – My response to something is almost always more important than the something. (3 John 1)
Training Focus – My current challenges and frustrations are my training ground for the greater influence I will have in the future. (James 1:2-5)
Exercise yourself right now by:
Focusing on only one of them at a time
Speak the declaration out loud five times
Note any negative emotional resistance you have concerning this belief and push against this with God’s promises (including the ones I have listed above)
Allow God to remind you of other verses and testimonies to strengthen the belief
Move on to the next one
For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.