Today much emphasis is placed on our physical bodies. We are taught in Phys. Ed classes that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. The basis fort his is found in I Cor. 6:19, “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” We are taught that we should keep our bodies in excellent condition. Our lives are organized largely on the basis of the body.
Many things are done for the physical body. Stores manufactures and sell clothing to warm the body. Homes are built to house the body. Food also is consumed to strengthen and nourish the body.
Gymnasiums, health spas, and country clubs are provided to exercise the body. Yes, many things are done for the convenience of the body!
But, we would not have it any other way. Who wants to discard the many things that brighten life?
But, what about our souls? Isn’t it true that without our souls our bodies could not exist? Do we exercise our souls as often as we exercise our bodies? Is our soul becoming “spiritually flabby?”
The problem seems to be that our souls have not kept pace with our bodies. The soul is lagging behind. We must also exercise our souls daily! I Timothy 4:7b states that we should exercise ourselves unto godliness.
Preparing for sermons, our societies and catechism are a few instances to exercise our souls. This can be done by not only studying what is to be discussed or taught, but also by desiring or longing for that instruction. The preaching of the word and catechism are means whereby we are instructed. Our societies are based mainly on discussion. Through exercising ourselves in church, society can be made profitable.
The more difficult exercises are these: confessing that Jesus Christ is our Savior, thanking God continuously during both good and bad times, earnestly desiring to do good works, and fighting against the devil and sin. The last exercise is the hardest one of all. Many people try this exercise but give up because it is too difficult. Which exercise is hard for you? The one that you have the most problem with is the one which you should work on.
The Word of God and the sacraments nourish our souls. The Word is the bread of life. The preaching of the Word and the acceptance of this Word warms our souls.
In I Cor. 9:17 this is stated: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection”. The American Revised Version quotes this same verse as: “I buffet my body and bring it into bondage”. The idea here seems to be that we should try to exercise our souls so that they will have authority over our bodies.
Exercising our bodies, whether it be through swimming, gymnastics, or basketball, we often strive for a goal. Sometimes the goal is a trophy or otherwise the mere satisfaction that you have achieved. What goal should you strive for while exercising your soul? The Bible states in I Cor. 9:24: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” What then is that prize? Exercising our souls through faith, we may obtain the gift that God gives His people: eternal life and perfect salvation.
Our bodies, our shells, are only a temporary form. Our souls are everlasting. Afterwards, our resurrected bodies will be reunited with our souls and made like unto the body of Christ.
Finally, we are not our own, but belong to God. “For we are bought with a price: therefore glorify in your body and in your Spirit (soul), which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:20)
The soul gymnasium is open three hours every Sunday, “Is your soul gymnasium a forgotten room?”
(Title and various ideas taken from Hallock’s Sermon Outlines– Rev. Bruce S. Wright. Pg. 70.)