I use to run about 5 miles a day for exercise. Most of it was quiet enjoyable but there was one part of the run about four miles in that I always dreaded. It was this long stretch uphill which would make my lungs yearn for oxygen and my legs scream in pain for me to stop but I never gave in and I always felt better for it afterwards.
During this running regimen that lasted for a period of years, at one point my Bible reading started to suffer. I had read the scriptures a number of times and due to a gifted memory I could almost quote verbatim what the next verse would say in numerous passages. In the process, I got bored and I began to wrestle everyday with myself to read it. New things weren’t jumping off the page like they used to. Some days, to be honest, I didn’t read it at all.
Sometime later, I was on one of my training runs and in the midst of the grind of that horrible hill I gently felt the nudge of God’s Spirit in my heart. I reflected on the fact that I did not enjoy running up that hill but that I did it anyway to stay in shape. I realized that if I could do this painful running for my physical body, than surely I could exercise the same stamina for my spiritual life.
I try to read the Bible every day now to keep myself spiritually fit. Some days it is exhilarating and I discover something I have never seen before and other days it can be routine. But long term I know that it is building within me the character I want in order to grow more in God.
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. I Timothy 4.8