Have you ever thought about the ways in which exercising and spending time with Jesus are similar?
On the surface, your fitness goals and your spiritual life don’t seem to have much overlap—but they actually have a lot in common. Here are three ways they are similar:
1. Both take time. Working out is a time commitment. After you set fitness goals, you mentally commit to set aside time every day to exercise, be it 15 minutes or multiple hours. You can’t really say you have a strong fitness routine if you only do ten half-hearted crunches once a month.
The same is true about your relationship with God. When you follow Christ, you mentally commit to prioritize time with him. For many people, that includes setting aside an hour each Sunday to go to church to hear God’s Word, spending time each day in prayer, and committing to read the Bible. You can’t really say you have a strong relationship with Jesus if you half-heartedly spend time with him only when you need something.
2. Both are good for you . . . but hard. The Internet is full of articles about how exercise benefits your overall health, but not everyone makes fitness a part of their daily lives. Why? Because it’s hard! It’s hard to sweat, jump around, and lift heavy weights. It makes your body burn and leaves you sore the next day, but exercising is the only way to get stronger. If fitness were easy, everyone would do it.
Spending time in God’s Word is the same way. There is plenty of evidence that reading the Bible is good for your spiritual health. Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Reading the Bible reminds us that we are sinful people in need of a Savior and gives us the good news that Jesus is that Savior who lived a perfect life in our place, died, and rose again to win us heaven.
Faith in Jesus is the only way to gain eternal life when you die, but being a Christian and spending time with God is not easy. If it were, everyone would do it! Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7:13,14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
3. Both are a lifestyle. I remember once being disappointed after I began a workout program and saw zero change in my body after a full week. Despite the trainer on my workout video harping, “Fitness is a lifestyle!” I was really hoping that at the end of the program I would be fit and wouldn’t have to put in any more work. Not so. Exercise is best when it’s consistent, and its effects on your health are cumulative!
Following Jesus is a lifestyle as well. You can’t just commit to a month of Bible reading or consistent prayer and then never put in any more effort in terms of your relationship with him. God loves you and eagerly desires a relationship with you. Spending time with God is best when it’s consistent, and you can see the strength of your faith grow over time!
In the fitness industry, they often say, “The best day to start exercising is today!” The same is true about your relationship with God. You and I don’t know when the end of our lives will come, so there’s no better day to start spending time with Jesus than today. May God bless you as you walk (or work out!) with him!