Something that has been nagging at my brain recently has been how to connect my passion for fitness and health with my desire to live a Christian lifestyle.
Often people are simply trying to lose weight in order to fit into a certain dress for an upcoming event, or they are trying to impress their friends and just gain social recognition for how good they look. When looked at with those goals and mindsets, having a fit and healthy body looks like an extremely vain desire meant for only personal gain, which is not something I can really put my support behind.
Often when someone approaches weight loss, a new fitness program, or any sort of healthy lifestyle changes with the above mindset–its true that they may see some short term gains. However, the strength of the reasons behind what they are doing is so weak that it ultimately leads to failure. Maintaining those results long term becomes inadequate.
Maintaining a high level of fitness and physically healthy body is much more important than looking good in front of a mirror. Thankfully, there are passages in the Bible that back me in that belief. These passages helped inspire me on my fitness journey, perhaps they’ll do the same for you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own;20 for you were bought with a price. Glorify God in your body.
Your physical body is a gift from God. It is the most amazing, highly functional creation that has been placed on this planet. It is far more valuable than a cell phone, car, laptop, or anything else that you can buy at the store. So why do we often treat it so poorly and put taking care of our bodies on the very bottom of our “to-do” list?
If we truly believe that our body is a temple (as described in the verse above)–shouldn’t we take care of it and treat it as one?
13 I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
This verse may not reference physical fitness or strength word for word, but I think it is an incredibly powerful thought. Essentially it is saying that nothing is impossible with God. How amazingly empowering a thought is that?
Of course as humans we have our own limits, and depending on your age and physical conditions there will be some obstacles more difficult than others. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stretch and challenge yourself with goals you think are slightly beyond reach. Even though you may not be able to do it alone, you may be able to get there with God’s strength helping you along the way.
Hopefully you found the above verses as helpful as I did when I first started building my foundation for fitness. It was refreshing to know that we all have the backing of strength much greater than our own when trying to accomplish the sometimes seemingly daunting task of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. (Especially since the society we live in today doesn’t always do the best job of encouraging health-minded choices.) Even with the above verses in mind, the Bible does clearly state that we shouldn’t lose sight of the true end goal and that the pursuit of an attractive body is frowned upon. If you want a good example of where this is mentioned, check out 1 Samuel 16:7.
I personally believe that the ultimate goal of exercising should be constantly improving our physical fitness so that we will be properly conditioned to explore this amazing world that was created for us and to have the energy in order to do the good works that we were created for.
How do you ground your fitness in faith? Respond in the comments section below.
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