Ready to run and jump? It is too cold and wet to be outside, so let’s do some exercises! First stand tall and reach for the ceiling. Now bend over and touch your toes. Ceiling, toes. Ceiling, toes. Now we will roll our shoulders—up, down. Up, down. Up, down. Side stretches next. Bend over to the left, now to the right. Left, right!
You look silly! you say. Maybe so, but aren’t you glad we can bend and move? One more stretch, so pay attention. First lunge forward on one leg, then the other. Now it is time for jumping jacks! Arms and legs out, then in. Out, in, Out, in! Keep it up! Let’s count to fifty. One, two, three… huff, puff, huff, puff.
I can’t do any more. I’m tired! you say. Of course you are tired. Don’t stop now! This is exercise and we can’t give up. Thirty-one, thirty-two. You-can-do-it. You-can-do-it! Out, in, out in! Forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty!
We made it! Good job. That was hard work, wasn’t it? It made me hot! you say, flopping into a chair. Exercise gets our blood pumping and warms us up. Do you know what else it does? It makes us stronger, you say. That’s right, because our muscles only grow when we give them work to do.
Exercise is important. If we give up when we get a little tired, we will stay weak. And that’s the same way with our mind and attitudes. Do you always feel like practicing your math facts or studying your spelling? No, but Mom makes me do them. Of course, because you have to stretch yourself to learn. And you have to stretch yourself to make right choices each day. Do you know that doing right is an exercise, too? It isn’t easy and often we have to make ourselves do something when we feel like giving up.
Paul loved Jesus and wanted to tell others about Him. But other people didn’t like what Paul said and tried to get him in trouble. They beat him and called him names, but he didn’t fight back. Instead he prayed for them and kept telling them about God’s love. How could he be good when others were so mean and unfair? One day he told his secret. “I always exercise myself,” he said, “to have a clear conscience before God and others” (Acts 24:16). A clear conscience means that you know that you did the right thing, even when it wasn’t easy. That’s the best kind of exercise, for it makes us stronger inside. Do you want to be strong? It is work, but it is worth it.