Doctors say that it is good to have a regular program of exercise. And millions of us follow that advice with hours every week at the gym pumping weights, running miles, and working out our bodies in a variety of ways. But I wonder if we are as concerned about our spiritual fitness?

The Apostle Paul spoke to a sporting culture when he wrote to young Timothy that bodily exercise profits little. He didn’t say it wouldn’t profit at all, but very little compared to the fitness that makes a lasting difference. This is spiritual muscle.

Today’s world will tell you just the opposite: “Who’s got time for church? It’s better to spend that Sunday off at the gym or in your sports league.”

But God, Who made our bodies, said that caring for our souls should be our number one priority. What if we took as much care about what went into our hearts and minds as we did our bodies? What if we measured our entertainment choices, the friends we associate with, and the places we frequent as carefully as we count calories and carbs?

No matter how carefully we maintain our bodies, they will grow old and die. Even the greatest athletes get achy knees, sore backs, and go through the effects of old age. But the spiritual life will live forever.

That’s why church, prayer, and Bible reading are not just options for the believer—they are a necessity. Exercising the body is nice, but training the soul is essential.

The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s muscle — waiting to be flexed, exercised, and employed in every moment of the believer’s life. — Dr. David Jeremiah

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder