The Best Exercise for You

Walking? Okay, maybe lifting weights.

Hmmm . . . Those were my best guesses as I started listening to the Freakonomics podcast, “The Best Exercise For You.” Surely it has got to be one of those. This podcast was incredibly entertaining partly because of the building anticipation on whether my guesses where going to be confirmed as right (they weren’t).

The more I thought on this question, I realized they might be right if your goal is to live a long life, but is this the best exercise from an eternal perspective? The apostle Paul reminds us that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). In that light, I think the following exercise might arguably be one of the best, not just for our earthly body but for our soul.

Here’s the prescription: Next time you get that stirred up feeling that creeps up all too often, stop and try this exercise. Ask yourself what lie you are believing. I find that often when my feelings are stirred up and I am feeling anxiety, jealousy, or just generally unsettled, it is because there is some gospel truth that is being replaced with a cultural lie.* So let me flesh this out a bit with two examples.

 

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I don’t pretend this exercise is easy. In fact I think it is really hard. I think these emotions in column two are okay to feel, but the question is what do you do with them? Which column do you then go to? The third or fourth? Do you let cultural lies spur you on with your emotions festering in a downward spiral, or do you correct yourself with gospel truth? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16); this verse from 2 Timothy means little if we aren’t ready to apply it. We need to consciously and actively say that we want to rebuke, correct, and train ourselves with gospel truths. When we take on this exercise we won’t feel the pain in our joints, but we may feel some it in our heart. The outcome, though, is a heart being transformed by the gospel with benefits that far outlast any physical exercise.

 

* This method was introduced to me many years ago by Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Lies Women Believe and The Truth That Sets Them Free. There are many more examples of application in this book.

 

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