An Excuse Not To Exercise

My gym closed its doors yesterday.  With very little warning, a posted sign on the door stated that the club is going out of business.  I hear some of you thinking, “Pastor Tim, YOU went to the gym?  We sure couldn’t tell!”  Well, I want you know that I faithfully went to the gym … on occasion.  I have to admit my first thought was, “well so much for that, I guess it is a sign that I don’t have to go anymore!”  I have an excuse not to exercise now!  But in reality, I am sad; I liked the place, I liked the energy, the equipment, and the friendly staff.  Most of all I am going to miss the interaction with my fellow fitness journeyers.  We learned from one another and encouraged one another.  I can work out at home, of course; but it is so much better to do it along with other people.

I have often thought about the similarities of a church and a gym.  I am not the first to draw the parallel.  Sylvester Stallone of Rocky fame who came to faith in Christ, said, “You need to have the expertise and the guidance of someone else.  You cannot train yourself.  I feel the same way about Christianity and about what the church is: The church is the gym of the soul.”  I am certain that the New Testament authors would heartily agree.  In fact, their writings are peppered with illustrations from the world of sports, discipline, and competition.  The Apostle Paul said:

“You know that in a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win!  All those who compete in the games use strict training. They do this so that they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time. But our crown will continue forever.  So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air.  It is my own body that I hit. I make it my slave. I do this so that I myself will not be rejected after I have preached to others.”  (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; NKJ)

Does that make Paul the original Rocky?!  The writer of Hebrews said:

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Sure, there are some spiritual practices that you can and should do by yourself such as prayer and personal study of the scripture, but God has given us a community for encouragement and mutual training in the faith.  I am grateful that while my fitness club has closed, the gymnasium of my soul – the church – has not!  Our doors are still open!  We invite you to come and train with us!  We have no excuse not to exercise our souls!



Published by Tim O

I chose the Greek form of my name as the title for the blog. It means “honoring God”. That is the goal of my life and of my writing. I hope it also encourages you along the way. Thanks for joining me!

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