Paul makes a wonderful point in this short verse. He teaches us to value the spiritual training that calls each child of God into greater intimacy with their Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Christian is called to train themselves in the disciplines of prayer, study, etc. just like an athlete trains themselves to run, lift, and swim faster, stronger, or with greater endurance. These spiritual disciplines have greater value and have a greater impact on the life of the believer and all who are around them.
But, the Apostle doesn’t devalue physical exercise. Instead, he reminds us that physical training has value, just not as much as spiritual training. Why is this so? Because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul says in 1 Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.
We glorify God by how we care for our body. Again, the greater glory is spiritual, but the body, and our care for it, gives glory to God as well.
Unfortunately, the Christian culture rarely speaks of physical training and care. Many spiritual leaders are out of shape and don’t recommend any measure of discipline or restraint. Very few teachers speak on the sins of gluttony. Even fewer offer Godly examples of what care for the body should look like.
So, while spiritual training has the higher value and greater impact, physical training is important. If the body fails, spiritual ministry will be hindered and at times, prevented.
Let’s not be those who neglect one truth by over-emphasizing another. God desires us to glorify Him both physically and spiritually.
Gospel Rich Books, Editor
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