Resolutions or Renew Pt. 2

(from a church email written in 2017)

Looking at resolutions needs to be put into perspective. Oftentimes, resolutions are good and nothing morally or ethically wrong with them according to the world. In fact, some may think why even talk about resolutions for they are often made privately; therefore, they are hands off, and to discuss them can come across contentious. Well, maybe you haven’t thought that, but I have, therefore am aware of thoughts like these. The goal isn’t to adjust them or change them per say, but to make sure our resolutions and what we “purposeth in our hearts” and our decisions do not come from selfish motivation, or worldly reasoning, or worse yet from simply following “the course of the world” and its’ “fashion”. In other words, although there is no harm in making a resolution simply cause the world does there isn’t any profit either, at least, eternally. Therefore, we ought to want our resolution’s, as God’s sons and daughters, generated from His heart and mind; that is, to be caused, motivated, reasoned, purposed, decided, and/or guided by our Father’s words. This godly resolution will therefore not only provide us the profit that a worldly resolution would, but also what the world can’t provide that is some eternal profit. Lastly, before we look at “bodily exercise”, my intended goal isn’t to be contentious or judgemental, but to “exhort” and “warn” of the profit we can possess or waste for the life to come. My goal is to provide you with some things in God’s Word by which can guide and direct your resolution.

With “eating and drinking” behind, “bodily exercise” is before. Once again, resolving that you are going to “exercise” more, in-and-of itself, is not bad nor wrong; neither should one feel guilty for doing so. In fact, on the surface just the opposite is the case: exercising is good for many reasons. Yet, as we dig deeper and “examine” and “discern” “the thoughts and intents of our hearts” (Heb. 4:12) by way of the powerful word of God let us ask the question – why?

Why do I want to exercise more? Maybe, it is to lose weight?, or, look better?, or, feel better? I once heard someone say, “I just need to do it for myself?” Maybe for a more noble reason like for “health” purposes? There are numerous general and specific reasons and causes for this resolution. Therefore, on the surface exercising isn’t wrong; however, can be either good or bad, silly or noble based upon our reason for our resolution. For us as God’s sons and daughters we ought to desire our motivation be godly.
Usually, motivations for this resolution fall under two major categories: 1) to look and feel good, and 2) health reasons: both of which can be done selfishly. Maybe your resolution to exercise is to lose weight? Why do you want to lose weight? For health reasons or to look good? What does it mean to look good? Who determines the standard of your beauty as women, and the standard of your handsomeness as men? Usually, the number one reason to exercise is to “get fit”, “lose weight”, and “be healthy”. Interestingly, most of the time no one says to “look good” yet one of biggest problems is the way people think in regards to the way they look. Add TV, magazine, and movie mediums portraying “looking good”, this way or the other, and the worldly standard is set.

Yet, our Father says much regarding where He looks for “beauty” and “looking good”. As with everything else it is almost completely opposite to the world and its’ “fashion”. God looks at our “inward parts”, our heart and mind. His exhortation is the same to both men and women as far as how we adorn and clothe ourselves. To the Pharisaical men He says,

“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,”

Matthew 23:5

To the women He says,

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

1 Timothy 2:9-10

To the wives He says,

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

1 Peter 3:3-4

Therefore, the reason of “looking good” for “bodily exercise” isn’t fitting to what is “of great price” “in the sight of God”. In other words, God cares more about why you do what you do, then doing it in regards to “bodily exercise”. Our Father does say it is “profitable” but only a “little”,

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

1 Timothy 4:8

“Bodily exercise” does profit. Line this up the profit of “godliness'”, having promise both of “the life that now is” AND “of that which is to come” and it seems that “bodily exercise” has little profit in regards to what it can do in “the life that now is”. Yet, knowing “the fashion of this world passeth away” “bodily exercise can only profit this life”. It is of some profit, but the quality of the profit is also limited to “the life that now is”. It can profit mostly for health reasons and prolonging life, but it cannot give eternal life. Think of it, when we exercise we are exercising a mortal body. Mortality and our natural bodies sown in “dishonour”, “weakness” and “corruption” (1 Cor. 15:42-44) is the reason for “bodily exercise” in the first place. It’s only profit is in the life that now is which we know is passing away. Although, it may help prolong our lives we will eventually die for one reason or another, from one cause or another; therefore, its’ profit quality is limited. Its’ profit isn’t everlasting.

Once again, this isn’t to discourage you from “bodily exercise”, nor suggesting you shouldn’t, but if and when we “purpose in our hearts” to do so, may we do so in light of our Father’s words.

Even when we have health concerns, problems, and infirmities we should examine why we want to get better. It is right to want to get better. Interesting, many of these things make us think of life in general and our purpose. These things should “set our affection on things above”. The natural reason to stay healthy and not have health problems, or to get healthy because of health problems is to prolong one’s life longer. The life that now is, that is. Paul had some physical infirmities; however, my point isn’t to look at these infirmities, but rather at his response to the prospect of death. Paul says to the Philippians,

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Philippians 1:23-24

Although Paul wasn’t facing the prospect of death due to health concerns per say, his response to it is godly and can be motivation for “bodily exercise” since “bodily exercise” targets keeping death at bay. In other words, whether getting healthy or staying healthy by “bodily exercise”, with or without health problems, can and should be purposed for the sake of others instead of self. Doing so places the understanding and wisdom of God concerning this life and the next on display to the world, to men, and to angels and thus glorifies God. It should be noted, however, that even the unbelievers can be motivated for the sake of others. Truly, we must ask, what is a purpose God has with us, to use us for the sake of others that isn’t like the world? Paul says,

“And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith”

Philippians 1:25

Paul desired to “abide in the flesh” for the sake of the Philippians, much like a wife or husband may desire to “abide in the flesh” for each other and/or their children; however, not simply just to be with them, but for the purpose of their “furtherance and joy of faith”. In other words, to edify them, build them up in the word of truth and all that entails. This, therefore, teaches what we should already be doing and what we should, primarily, be doing: living godly in Christ Jesus and teaching “the doctrine according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3) to our loved ones. Any “bodily exercise” we choose whether it be occasional, intense, as a job, or done with a friend, may it be done with godly motivation and intent.

Therefore, whether you choose to engage in “bodily exercise” use it for what is not only “profitable” for the life that now is, but also for the life to come; that is for godliness’ sake and for the sake of others godliness. Yet, when you cannot stay healthy any longer whether it be by genetics, time, for this reason or the other, understand the inevitable happened, that you were exercising a mortal body, a weak body before it ever got ill. You were eating for the belly and this “natural body” and God will destroy both it and them. You were exercising corruption and dishonour. Instead, find your supply of comfort from the God of comfort and hope from the God of hope. Part of that hope being the redemption of our bodies reaped “in incorruption”, “in immortality”, “in power”, “in glory”, “eternal in the heavens”, “in victory”. Do not regret your eating or exercising choices and waste time thinking selfishly, for whether in health or illness and by life or death utilize your body to magnify Christ (Php. 1:20).

Exercise your body then, but know death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54) and not by your victory of reaching your ideal weight and lab numbers, but because Christ is raised from the dead. For then “our vile body, {will} be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Php. 3:21). Know, therefore, you exercise your body in a natural, earthy sense, but ultimately it will be His workout to subdue the fashion of this world and our natural body. The fashion of this world is passing away and His fashion is eternal and “at hand” (Rom. 13:12), may we wait with bated breath for “the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

Look Up,

Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher

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