Body building

by Marilyn Mathis

As you recall your school days, which teacher or teachers stand out in your memory? Most of us can readily bring one, or several, to mind. They are “unforgettable people” for various reasons.

Several teachers come to my mind when I reflect on my schooling. I immediately think of my first grade teacher. She was special because she taught me to read. Another teacher that holds a very special place in my memory from first grade through college is the only teacher from whom I earned an F. (Note: I did raise that grade to a C.)

The class was physical education. It was not my best or favorite subject. Guess what? It still isn’t. I can think of more reasons to avoid exercise. I know it’s good for me. It’s healthy! Exercise just isn’t high on my priority list, but there are some exercises that I sweat to on a regular basis. Such as:

STRETCHING the truth. This exercise is a real oldie. It began with a woman named Eve. God told Adam, Eve’s husband, that they could eat from any fruit in the garden except one. Eve later said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it…” (Genesis 3:3). Stretching the truth is not an Eve exclusive. Do you ever catch yourself sweating to this one?

BENDING my convictions. This means that I refuse to stand firm for what I believe. Accepting the thoughts and principles of others gets easier the longer I refuse to stand up for what I know is right and the truth. Do you lovingly speak the truth?

JUMPING to conclusions. This is to make a judgment without sufficient evidence or information. Hannah, a Jewish woman, longed for a son. She went to the temple to pray. Eli, the priest, observed her praying. He jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk due to her emotional distress (I Samuel 1L12-18). She was accused of wrong doing due to a lack of information. Speaking without thinking or knowledge! Which leads to another exercise common to many of us.

RUNNING off at the mouth. I have to confess that there are times when my tongue gets so much exercise that the rest of me is worn out. This reminds me of a story about a wife who complained to her husband about the bad manners of her new neighbor. “If that woman yawned once while I was talking, she yawned a dozen times.” Her husband replied, “Maybe she wasn’t yawning, dear. Maybe she was trying to say something.” May our prayer be that of the psalmist, “Help me, Lord, to keep my mouth shut and my lips sealed” (Psalm 141:3 LB).

LIFTING weights. Do you ever carry the weight of guilt? Anger? Responsibility for the happiness of others? “Cast your burdens on Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). Are you tired and sweating? Good news! God does not want us to sweat to any of these exercises. They keep us from being spiritually healthy. What can we do?

KICK THE HABIT. “Bad habits are like comfortable beds; easy to get into, but hard to get out of.”

SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE. “Evil habits first draw, then drag and then drive. Beware!” Practice the exercise of awareness. Pay attention to what you are doing and saying.

JOG YOUR MEMORY. Remind yourself to study God’s exercise manual, The Bible. His Word is a personal road map to developing a lifelong, healthy exercise commitment to be spiritually fit.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:31


A Conway resident, Marilyn Mathis is a wife, mother, Nana and teaching leader for First Wednesday Lunch Break. Readers can reach her at [email protected].