Understanding why we were made helps us fight the temptation to compare ourselves with the brand of beauty sold to us in the world. It also helps us fight the temptation to idolize exercise and beauty. We know from experience that beauty is fleeting. We’re reminded daily that we’re growing old. Scripture provides us wisdom for this heart-fight: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
Proverbs 31:30 makes it clear that exercise does not compare to the inward beauty of godliness, specifically the fear of the Lord. I believe it’s here—with fear of the Lord—that we ought to begin an exercise plan. We enter in knowing that our beauty is fading and that our pursuit is ultimately about God’s glory, not our own. We pursue exercise not for selfish gain, but as a means of serving others and serving the Lord. With increased energy and strength, we can have increased productivity for the Lord. If we pursue exercise with a mindset of honoring God and fearing him, we will be satisfied not in our looks or how we feel, but in better understanding that our bodies are a means of giving worship and glory to God.
Reap the Benefits
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that adults get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week as well as muscle-strengthening activities two times per week. The CDC also provides an alternate set of guidelines: 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (like running) along with muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days per week. So when we think about the amount of hours within a week (168 to be exact), the recommended amount of exercise from the CDC really isn’t that much time. A little really does go a long way!
Paul’s words to Timothy remind us that “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). There is a benefit or value to exercise. And though godliness or training in righteousness is of much greater value, the inherent benefits of exercise aren’t diminished. So that little bit of exercise per week you try to eek out? It matters.