Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of May 6, 2007

1Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Some translators think that bodily exercise profits for a little time. When I got on the treadmill the other day, the truth of this verse was very obvious to me. It takes a long time to get into shape and it seems to take very little time get out of shape. So while I was huffing and puffing, I thought about the things in life that are of little value, those that are of no value, and those that are of eternal value.

Some have thought that bodily exercise is of no value, but I don’t think Paul was teaching that. He made too many references to 0lympic-style games for me to believe that he didn’t read the sports news in the coliseum news paper from time to time. But he realized that a Spartan-type of obsession with physical conditioning was only going to last for a little while. However, he knew that the same kind of attitude toward developing godly characteristics would be profitable for ever.

Some of us spend most of our time on things that are no value. I think the “profane and old wives’s fables” that Paul mentions in this passage fall into this category. These were obviously godless traditions that were not true. Many people listen to the profane teachings of godless men and women today without realizing that man does not have final answers. If God has not given us the final answers in the Bible then we just aren’t going to get final answers because man is simply not God. Man is creative but he is not the Creator. Man is on the inside looking out, not on the outside looking in. We find it easy to be spoiled through “philosophy and vain deceit” (Colossians 2:8). Philosophy is the reasonings of man while vain deceit is simply empty lies. Philosophy starts out by saying “I think” or “so and so thinks”. Empty lies are what the Christians were trying to defend when the book “The Di Vinci Code” was published. I never could figure out why we were defending the truth against a book that said on the cover that if was fiction. Of course, I couldn’t figure out why Christians read it either. I for one did not. Spending time with such things might be entertaining, but it has no lasting value.

Paul says that godliness has great value. Later on in the chapter, he says that the exercise that profits for eternity is the study of, the mediation on, and the teaching of the Word of God. Some weeks, I have to admit that most of my time is spent on things that keep me from doing that which I should be doing. Even doing the Lord’s work can sometimes get in the way of sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening, which is really the Lord’s work (Luke 10:42).

We need to become children of God by faith in the Lord Jesus (John 1:12). Then as children we need to get the right exercise so that we begin to take on the features of our heavenly Father, and so that we can begin losing the features of “our father the devil” (John 8:44). Instead of spreading lies, we should be telling the truth. Instead of destroying, we should be building. Instead of dividing, we should be uniting. Instead of hating others, we should be loving others. Instead of questioning God, we should be trusting Him.

I think I need more of the right kind of exercise.

Bruce Collins

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