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Fitness as a way to Glorify God
I’ll be honest. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with working out and eating well. It takes effort! And a lot of it.
It takes planning, motivation, desire, follow-through, and discipline. While I’m great at planning, the others don’t always follow suit.
But I know that I love how I feel after I finish a workout and after a day of eating healthy. And when I’m able to string multiple days together and I see results in my body, my motivation increases, my self-esteem and confidence increases, and my overall presentation and well-being is better.
So fitness can be glorifying to God in two ways: He tells us to! and with increased physical and emotional well-being you are more likely to present with confidence to shine God’s light onto others.
Obedience is glorifying to God
There are multiple scriptures in the bible that references presenting yourself well by taking care of yourself and avoiding gluttony, idleness, and laziness. We are called to care for each other. That includes our own physical well-being as well.
The characteristics it takes to maintain fitness is also pleasing to God: self-control, self-discipline, perseverance, and dedication.
Here are a few scriptures:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you where bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
The apostle Paul reminded the people of Corinth that their unrestrained behavior was displeasing to God. In this context Paul was referring to sexual immorality.
However, the definition of unrestrained is to be uncontrolled, unrestricted, and undisciplined. Anytime we are exhibiting those behaviors it it displeasing to God. So not caring for your body and being unrestrained with the food you are eating is just as bad.
When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.
Wow! That’s intense. The definition of gluttony is habitual greed or excess in eating. But remember, we are called to crave God!
Lysa Terkeurst has a magnificent book called Made to Crave that focuses on breaking the chains of food cravings and developing/increasing your desire for God. I review the book in one of my posts as well.
for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.
Isn’t this also good imagery for our own bodies!? I certainly know I sag a bit (literally and figuratively) when I’m lazy and not taking care of my body or my other responsibilities.
Increased confidence to shine God’s light onto others
I know that when I am not physically taking care of myself that I don’t feel very good about myself. And that’s not simply because of the number on the scale or the size jeans I’m fitting into (although lets be honest, those things have an effect, too).
But more than that.
When I’m more physically fit, I become more emotionally healthy too. My sleep is more restful. I have more energy. My emotions and hormones are more balance. And overall I feel good. I have increased confidence which means I stop thinking and worrying about my appearance. So then I’m able to focus on other people and love on them!
We are called to love and care for others but that can be difficult when we are self-conscious about how we look and compare ourselves to others. Our presentation doesn’t come across as very loving and supportive.
Increased confidence bolsters our courage to engage with other people, care for them, genuinely ask how they are doing, and shine God’s light. That, my friends, is glorifying to God!
Ways to work on your fitness
Fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry trying to sell people on their way to get healthy and fit.
I’m certainly not an expert but I have tried multiple workout and food programs and have found what works well for me. That is my biggest recommendation. Find what works for you and you enjoy! If it is not enjoyable and fulfilling it will be all the harder to maintain.
I personally enjoy a combination of strength training, yoga and cardio.
I initially found strength training a bit daunting because I didn’t feel very strong and frankly felt silly saying I was going to “lift weights”. The book Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body by Micheal Matthews was helpful in teaching the best process of utilizing strength training. He also goes in depth into nutrition as well.
I also enjoy using a TRX suspension training kit. It allows me to work on major muscle groups while also activating my stabilizer muscles.
Yoga is an amazing way to focus on a positive intention, release stress, and build flexibility and strength. It can also be slow and mindful or more high intensity and powerful. I would suggest trying some yoga videos to try out what style you prefer. PopSugar Fitness has a free app with tons of workout videos to try. A good yoga mat is a must so your hands don’t slip and slide all over the place.
Ugh! Cardio is definitely my least favorite part of working out but as a therapist, I’m not exactly active during the day. To increase my daily calorie burn I kind of need to add cardio into my workout regimen to see results.
I’m not a runner! I actually envy people who can just bust out a few miles and be on their way. It just doesn’t seem to work for me. No matter how good of shape I’m in I feel like my heart is going to explode and my lungs are going to burst. I might be doing it wrong!
So I will do HIIT (high intensity interval training) for cardio or I will utilize our elliptical machine which has seen four moves and three different states. But my favorite is our water rower. I find the sound of the water relaxing and I also enjoy the movement and strength in my legs, arms, and back.
Diet and nutrition
Food is the area that I struggle with the most. I have had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember and it has caused me to have a poor relationship with food. As mentioned before, Made to Crave has been a great book for me to break the cravings of food. I also have found great success with the book Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig.
The combination of the two books has helped me to understand my pattern and habit of food cravings and why they happen.
I sincerely pray that this post meets you where you are today and helps you to get motivated to take your fitness seriously and glorify God in the process!