Motivated

What does God think about fitness? That question’s been in the back of my mind for … um … a long time, but it resurfaced in the last couple months. I find that as Christians we say that it’s good to take care of our bodies and that one way to do that is through exercise. But then we’re asked why. Why is it good to take care of our bodies? Sometimes it takes an awkward pause before an answer’s found. And then we probably say something about our bodies being a temple of the Holy Spirit and gifts from God that we’re called to be good stewards of {both of which are true}.

But though I believe both of those statements are true, they’re not specific enough to motivate me. When my legs feel like Jell-O and I’m starting another round of squats, it may be true and great to say, “Ok, I’m doing this to glorify God with my body,” but, really, what does that mean?

We’re always motivated by something. I’m tired of being motivated by lies. They promise me so much, but they end up taking far more than they give. Always.

It’s time to be motivated by what’s true.

Jesus said that there are two commandments that sum up all the rest. He said in Matthew 22:37-40, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (NIV). How can we care for our bodies in a way that shows our love for God and others? Because if we do that we’ll be obeying God. And we’ll be motivated by truth.

Here’s two ways we can start with.

This first motivator is a way we can love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s from Carolyn McCulley’s book Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye. I was actually surprised when I read this. And refreshed. She encourages the women reading her book to work toward being healthy and beautiful for their future husbands. After all, we’re called to put other’s interests before our own, she reminds her readers. “Wouldn’t we bless them if we were the best we could be, both spiritually and physically?” she asks. Wow. I don’t hear that other-centered perspective on fitness and health often.

Another godly motivator is to be able to be alert and focused to learn more about God and deepen my relationship with Him. God desires for me to grow in my relationship with Him and grow to be more like Christ. I believe exercising and being healthy in general can allow me to do that. Our physical and spiritual selves are so intertwined that when one is uncared for the other is affected. {God can certainly use physical illnesses and struggles to grow our relationship with Him, but that doesn’t mean we should be looking for them!} For me, lack of sleep has a huge effect on my perspective of things, including God. When I’m physically healthy {and well rested!} I don’t have as many extra distractions. I can focus more energy on my time with God whether it’s at church of alone. I can put more into it. And, by His grace, I’ll get more out of it.

Fitness shouldn’t be about us. It should be another means to honor God and show our love for Him. Let go of the lies. They leave you empty. Embrace the truth. We were designed to do it all for God’s fame and praise.

 

(I feel I should properly cite Ms. McCulley’s book since it was the inspiration for this post…)

McCulley, Carolyn. Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye. Illinois: Crossway Books, 2004. Print.

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One thought on “Motivated

  1. I really liked this post! It’s something I’ve been thinking about, not so much with fitness, but with eating healthy. 🙂 Eating foods that will nourish and support help with being energetic, not getting sick, and even having a good mood! All these things can be useful in serving others, so that’s the reason I want behind eating healthy food.

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