Preparations for the New Year Begin with the Body

1 Timothy 4:8

“Physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.”

Placing too much emphasis or lack of emphasis on something can lead to error.  If we do not take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit, how will we be able to carry out what God has placed in our path to do?  So many fleshly reasons for exercise exist; being the right size or weight, fitting into a certain outfit.  None of these please God, but choosing to exercise, fast, or to eat healthily to be fit for God’s kingdom and glory does.

Running, walking, whatever form of exercise, can be a great catalyst to more effective, godly life.  Why?  Making our flesh do things it does not want to do helps lead the way to us not walking after fleshly desires, but after God, instead.  I have often thought of the first half of the verse above, but the second half of the verse stands our to me now, vividly.  Exercise holds promise for this life and for eternity?  Wow.  Because it is capable of producing godliness, which endures forever.

So what stands in our way?  Lack of discipline, motivation, self control, distraction?  Probably, but there is also a great tool which can help us to overcome these commonplace struggles: fasting.  Not to lose weight, not to be pious, but to deny self and refocus our intentions and priorities.  We can get lost in our daily regime and somehow there is a mystery in setting aside food for a day and taking that time to pray instead.  Things seem clearer and our eyes are opened to what really matters.  There are, of course, health benefits to fasting, as well, which can also help clear our foggy minds and provide a little detoxification.

There are many reasons why a believer would choose to fast.  While it is not required by Scripture, it is a discipline that humbles us and reminds us of our humanity and desperate need for God.  It catches our attention and breaks up our routine enough to make us stop ourselves and consider our lives, and more importantly, which wall our ladder is leaning up against.  I pray we all prepare our mind, heart and bodies to set goals that honor God in this coming year and push ourselves to do things we are not capable of so we can lean hard on Jesus.

Lord, may we worship you with all our heart, soul, mind and being now and in this coming year.  Help us to pause long enough to seek your will and prepare our whole beings for service to You!

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