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Exercise Your Mind

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. That is why I run straight for the finish line. 1 Cor. 9:25, 26, TEV.

Stan had been sick for several months, confined to bed with a painful infection. The inevitable vicious cycle of weakness ensued as he lost both physical and emotional strength. One day as he complained to me that he despaired of ever working in his beloved garden again, I suggested, “Stan, the Creator has put into our bodies tremendous healing powers. Start walking just a few minutes twice a day and you’ll be amazed at what happens.”

About a month later Stan came to me all excited. He’d been working in the garden and could once again stoop to pull weeds! When I wondered at the dramatic transformation, he explained, “I walked a quarter of a mile twice a day for a while, then increased gradually, and now I’m back to normal!”

The dictum “use it or lose it” obviously applies to physical strength, but what about mental or spiritual strength? Recent research at the University of California at Los Angeles substantiates what many have felt applies to the mind: regular exercise strengthens brainpower. When examined at autopsy the brain cells of bridge players appeared much more healthy than those of people whose pastime was playing bingo. A kindergartner can play bingo, but bridge requires constant analysis and decision-making.

Paul uses the example of an athlete to describe his spiritual life. If you want to win a race you must discipline yourself. Paul said, “I am like a boxer who does not beat the air; I bruise my own body and make it know its master, for fear that after preaching to others I should find myself rejected” (1 Cor. 9:26, 27, NEB).

You may exert your body when you’re preparing for a sporting event, but do you exercise your mind when it comes to Bible study?

If you read through Scripture in a perfunctory manner, it avoids exercising your brain and may be like playing bingo—the words pass through your mind without leaving any real impact. However, if you get out several versions of the Bible, read the context, look up some background material, and then discuss your findings, you’ve exercised your mind. You’re running “straight for the finish line”!

Have you exercised your brain with some in-depth Bible study today? What else could you do to make sure you are running “straight for the finish line”?


Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.


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