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Covid-19 Devotionals

Spiritual Exercise

As you are aware, Level 4 of lockdown, which started on Friday 1 May, gives us the right to go for runs and walks between 6am to 9am each day. Many have received this news with great passion and thanks. Over the last few weeks (and, to be true, since retiring at the end of 2019), I have picked up weight and need some serious weight shedding. This, as you know, is not all that easy, so yesterday I decided to take to the roads. Although I was a serious long distance runner up to 2005, I cannot now run for long distances because of my foot injury (Plantar fascia). Therefore, I have taken to a brisk walk. My route is just under 3kl until I get back into the hang of it. What is interesting is that most people out on the roads, those walking to work, those running, those walking and those walking dogs or pushing prams, don’t do so with masks over their mouths and noses.

Even though I have been for a walk yesterday and today, I start off having to force myself. My lower back aches. My breathing is rapid. I can’t wear sunglasses or reading glasses as the hot breath risers into the glasses and mists it up. I tend to want to drink my 500ml of water quickly. But once the 1st kl is past, my breathing normalizes. My heart rate stabilizers. My back pain subsides. I sip the water only when necessary … and I start to enjoy my brisk walk. By the time I return home, my pants and t-shirt are soaking and my knees are wobbling. But hey, I’ve started, and hopefully I’ll be able to shed a few “inches or kilos” after a few weeks.

I tend to be repetitive, but all Scripture is God breathed and inspired. So again … Paul pens:

1Ti 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

The Early Church went through many challenges, many of which came from the inside. False teachers and teachings arose within the Church. Sometimes, these people were well known and respected and then subtly, once they have captured the trust of the people, they introduce heresies. Sometimes outsiders do this. That’s verse 1-2. But see God’s response in verse 3-5.

What strikes me is how “train yourself to be godly” at the end of verse 7 is compared to “physical training” in verse 8. Exercise is good, and that includes walking and running and weight training. It has “some value” … meaning value for this life, for this body, to destress; etc. But, verse 8b says that “godliness has value for all things” … “all things”, meaning not the temporal body but the condition of the soul for this life and the life with Jesus (holding promise for both the present life and the life to come).

Exercise helps the joints, muscles, tendons, sinus, lungs, heart, arteries, veins, stomach, brain, etc. … that is all the body. It’s great to be healthy … thinner blood flowing through the bodily systems … fresh, clean oxygen finding its way right to the muscles … a clean mind that is destressed and able to think. But all of this is only for this life! Exercise is training the body. This present body holds no value for the life to come! That is soul business!

Training the soul is training yourself to be godly. That is dressing yourself with the very character of God. He chose you before the creation of the world to be “holy and blameless” (Eph 1:4) and He “predestined you to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Rom 8:29). He chose you to be like His Son, and His intention is that you be like His Son. Your role is the in-between part … from salvation, spiritual life, coming into His Kingdom Family until physical death, going into His Kingdom of Paradise.

You have the Bible, you have prayer, you have the Spirit, you have your Christian family … train yourself to be godly!

Lord Jesus, please help me to ready myself for a life of service … and afterwards to enter your glory fully prepared. Amen.

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