Bodily Exercise Profits Little
Charles Spurgeon in his book, John Ploughman’s Talk, writes, “proud looks lose hearts, and gentle words win them.“
In a world that is so caught up with self-image, fashion, height, weight, hair, and every physical feature imaginable, it’s easy to focus more on how we look than on how we speak to and treat other people.
But consider this: have you ever seen someone and thought, “Oh, he’s so well dressed, he must be a nice person!” or “Her hair is so perfectly arranged, I’m certain she’d be an excellent friend!” Most likely not! In fact, we are more likely to be intimidated by a person who seems to have a flawless exterior. We may view them as unapproachable or even stuck-up, whether or not they really are.
So why do we spend so much time trying to look perfect? Wouldn’t it be more profitable to spend time considering how we can serve those around us and make them feel more welcome, valued, and appreciated?
Philippians 2:3 says: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.“
What if, instead of trying to impress others, we chose to consider them better than ourselves? And I’m not saying that our outward appearance isn’t important. For Paul writes, “Bodily exercise does profit little… BUT, Godliness is great gain.” Paul isn’t saying that our outward appearance and muscle tone isn’t important; but that pales in comparison to the exercise of our inward man which is demonstrated in our outward behavior toward others.
Instead of using our looks to impress people, we need to focus on using our words to bless people. Instead of thinking “how do I look?” focus outward and think, “how do they feel, and how can I help them?” When we move from an inward focus to outward service and care, new life and opportunities will abound. Maybe this is what Paul was referring to when he wrote, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.“
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