It’s only been in the last twelve months or so that I’ve realized the power of physical discipline for taking my spiritual discipline to the next level. beforeafter It should be obvious, yet for me it hasn’t been. Discipline the body, discipline the mind.

Discipline the mind, and you’ve taken the first step toward success in many of the twelve spiritual disciplines.

St. Paul said,

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27, ESV)

Because physical discipline yields tangible results, we begin to better understand discipline in general, and can apply that knowledge to the spiritual realm. I recently starting exercising on a regular basis, and I’ve learned:

  • It takes less time than you think to start seeing the fruit of discipline, but more time than you think to completely uproot bad habits.
  • Start slow, don't bite off more than you can chew.
  • Community is essential for my success in being a disciplined person.
  • Being willing to learn from people wiser than myself is a non-negotiable.
  • Just showing up is half the battle.

Look, this guy:

Me, a couple years ago. Me, a couple of years ago.

and this guy:

Me, a couple weeks ago Me, a couple of weeks ago

are two completely different people, physically and spiritually.

How do we become healthier physically, sharper mentally, and deeper spiritually? By disciplining the body, mind, and spirit.

By God’s grace I’m both the most physically and spiritually disciplined I’ve ever been. The two are much more intertwined than we’d often like to admit.