I love to exercise! I prefer to play tennis, basketball, pickleball, bike, or walk 18 holes at a golf course, then run or walk for exercise, but running and walking is easy to do — anytime and anywhere. Maybe you like to exercise, maybe you don’t. Wherever you stand, I’d encourage you to do something and for those who don’t have a routine yet, start small and let it grow from there. Exercising is a God-ordained activity that is needed for our health. After Adam and Eve sinned, God said to Adam: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19 ESV emphasis added)
God knew that rigorous activity, where you sweat, is critical to helping us live healthy lives in a sinful world — exercising daily to keep our bodies working optimally. I don’t know about you, but for a lot of my life, I didn’t always put into practice (exercise) the things I knew I should.
“You need to start taking medication to lower your cholesterol,” the doctor told me. I walked out of the doctor’s office and pondered what I had just heard. “I can either change my lifestyle or start taking medication, but I have to do something,” I told myself. I chose to start exercising, and 12 months later, I had lost nearly 30 pounds and was “freed” from taking medicine to lower my cholesterol. My cholesterol levels decreased because I rigorously exercised. I ran daily for 100 days and then kept running four to five times a week. I experienced the tremendous benefits of exercise, and I decided to make workouts a regular part of my life — and I haven’t stopped. Running and walking are my primary consistent forms of exercise today.
Benefits of Physician Exercise: No Insulin Needed
What about you? Have you ever thought about all the benefits of exercise, especially rigorous exercise and how starting with 15-20 minutes two to three times a week could fit into your schedule? Here are some of the ways that exercise has benefited me:
- Eliminated my need for cholesterol medication
- Lost over 30 pounds
- Increased my metabolism (when I started exercising, my college appetite returned, and I kept losing weight)
- Increased my positive endorphins
- Enhanced my self-esteem (healthy)
- Made me feel ten years younger than my actual age
- Decreased the amount of insulin I needed for meals (e.g., instead of 10 units of insulin, only 7 units are now required)
Isn’t this list amazing!? Why not give exercise, especially rigorous workouts (be careful not to push yourself too hard), a try?
I’m a type 1 diabetic, and recently, after lunch, my blood sugar started increasing. I went for a short walk (3-5 minutes), and my blood sugar came down but then went right back up. I didn’t feel good as my sugar levels continued to climb, going above 200. I thought about giving myself three units of insulin to bring my sugar levels down but opted to do something else — further exercise instead of insulin. Guess what happened!? A longer period of walking eliminated the need to give myself any insulin.
I walked for 45 minutes, and I kept a study pace. At times, I paused and talked with others around me. When I finished, my sugar levels dropped from 230 to 90 and then continued to drop more — I eventually had to eat an orange to prevent my sugar levels from dropping too low. All of this happened without any insulin, just exercise.
Benefits of Spiritual Exercise
We can all agree that our bodies are designed with a need for physical exercise. What about spiritual exercise — do we take action with the Word of God and read and do what the Bible says? It takes regular time and effort to exercise spiritually. Here are some of the ways that spiritual exercise has benefited me:
- As I spend time in God’s Word and memorizing precious Bible promises, I have more peace about the future.
- As I spend time in prayer and searching Scripture, I see myself for who I really am and what I really need. I am a sinner. I need a Savior. I need to know Jesus Christ, my Savior (1 John 4:14). This fills me with hope as I’ve shifted my focus and energies toward Christ.
- As I focus more and more time on Christ, the things of this world have grown strangely dim — not because of “what” I’m focused on but because of “Who” I’m focused on, Jesus Christ! I’ve personally experienced Christ removing struggles (e.g., idols, caffeine addiction, etc.) from my life, sometimes quickly and sometimes not so quickly, but I’ve seen His Hand leading and helping me.
- As I spend more time with Jesus, I’m more willing to follow Him and listen to His voice (John 10:27). This is not easy. It takes time and a willingness to surrender (Galatians 2:20) and let Jesus be in the driver’s seat — and by learning to do this, He has strengthened my faith and trust in Him (e.g., listening to God’s voice when He said, “Sell your home, follow Me…” — more about this in a future article).
Call to Action
Our eternity depends on our spiritual exercise. Exercise to know Christ, and He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant’” (Matthew 25:21 ESV). Exercise without knowing Christ, and He will say, “‘I never knew you…’” (Matthew 7:23 ESV). As we exercise spiritually, God calls us to take action and not be satisfied by listening but by doing: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV).
Let’s consider ways to exercise physically and spiritually and experience the benefits of both. Our Creator will help you grow to be all that He created you to be, now and into eternity.
Scripture noted as NIV above is taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.