Spiritual Exercise

by Joshua Bixler

Physical training, or exercise, is essential to be a soldier. It improves your combat skills and helps you fight longer in battle. The better and harder your physical training program, the better you will perform when you are fighting.

Physical training is important to the Christian soldier as well. It gives you the energy to go on mission trips and help neighbors in need with tasks that involve physical labor. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” As Christians, our bodies house the Holy Spirit, so we should strive to keep ourselves healthy through diet and exercise.

Even though we should conduct physical training, this type of training should not be first. Spiritual
training should be our primary focus in life. Having strong muscles and being able to run fast is not a bad thing, but it does not have the value of knowing scripture and being attuned to God’s heart.

Sampson was a mighty warrior. There will never be a warrior in history as strong as Sampson. The Bible
says in Judges 14:5-6, “Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they
approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat.”

Not only was Sampson incredibly strong, he was the greatest warrior in history. No enemy soldier stood
a chance against Sampson in battle. The Philistines, one of the great enemies of the Israelites, tried to
capture Sampson. The Philistines did not stand a chance. The Bible says in Judges 15:15, “Finding a fresh
jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.”

Physically, Sampson was at the absolute peak of what a human could achieve, but unfortunately his
spiritual training was lacking. God had ordered Sampson to never cut his hair. If his hair were cut, he
would lose his God-given strength. Sampson does not seem to have taken this very seriously. He
revealed this to his lover Delilah, a Philistine woman he knew was trying to deliver him into the
hands of the Philistines.

When Sampson was sleeping, Delilah had his head shaved. After his hair was cut, the Philistines
attacked him. It says in Judges 16:20, “He awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and
shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him.”
The Philistines defeated Sampson
with ease and imprisoned him. Sampson was a strong and mighty soldier, but he did not take his
spiritual training seriously. If he had listened to God, and not Delilah, the Philistines would not have
captured him.

When we trust in our own abilities and not God, we are not being the Christian warriors that we are
meant to be. You can win the “World’s Strongest Man” competition, but if you are not trusting in God,
then all that strength is meaningless. When you trust in God and focus on your spiritual training, then
you can become incredibly strong. Your life on earth is short and temporary. No matter how much you
exercise and focus on worldly things, this existence will not last forever. Our next life, whether it is
spent in Heaven or Hell, lasts for eternity. Praying, reading God’s word, and trusting in Him better
prepares us for that next life.

Pray today that God will help you to focus on Him and what truly matters.

Joshua Bixler is a Christian, husband, father, and a Sunday School teacher for 5th grade boys.  He is a veteran of two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and loves military history.  He and his wife create tabletop RPG gaming products for their publishing label Bix Six Adventures on the DriveThruRPG website.