The Greek word used here for "training" is "gymnasia" from which we get our word "gymnasium". This is the only place in the New Testament this word is used and it refers specifically to physical exercise. It is clear that Paul is saying physical fitness is good but spiritual fitness is better. Physical fitness is for this life. Spiritual fitness is for this life and for life in heaven.
Pardon the pun, but I wrestle with this verse because of the conviction God is placing on my heart about my physical health. Seems foremost in my mind is getting healthier physically...losing weight, eating better, exercising, etc. And as important as that is, I can't lose my focus on my relationship with Christ and getting fit spiritually.
However, the question I have is ... does it have to be either or or is it both and? Yes, spiritual fitness is more important and cannot be an afterthought. BUT...can I truly have one without the other while I am living this life physically before my physical death?
Am I really spiritualy fit if I'm physically out of shape? Now, don't misunderstand me here. I am not saying that if I am physically fit then I am also spiritually fit. But could it be the other way? If I am spiritually fit, I will also be physically fit because pursueing spiritual fitness includes pursuing physical fitness?
Hmmm...I have more questions today than answers.
And I'm sure there will be some who have great spiritual answers to this. I did. I had great spiritual cliche answers but it was because I wouldn't admit my unhealthy physical shape and lifestyle. I knew it, but I didn't want to come face to face with it like I am now.
This ties so much into what I wrote yesterday in Physical Health IS Spiritual. Being spiritually fit includes being physically fit and being physically fit includes pursuing spiritual fitness - right? For me, I should not be pursuing one at the neglect of the other. While I am alive on this earth, I HAVE a physical body. That physical body is the home (temple) of the Holy Spirit. I MUST take care of it. I can't neglect it.
Physical fitness or spiritual fitness. I think it's both. What I need is balance. Don't pursue physical fitness at the expense of spiritual fitness but to understand that to pursue spiritual fitness is also to pursue physical fitness. Makes sense in my mind - I think. :) I think reading and applying The Daniel Plan is both challenging and helping me keep this all in proper perspective...faith + food + fitness + focus + friends = a healthier life.