God’s best for you lies beyond your comfort zone.
When I say “physical fitness” do you get excited? Or do you roll your eyes at the thought of another sales pitch on why you should “take care of your body because it is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Well, guys, it’s time to take that holy shot of grape juice communion pre-workout and get PUMPED to learn what it truly means to be fit for the fight.
The Significance of the Human Body
As Christians, we know how important it is to take care of our spiritual health: We read the Bible, pray, worship God, connect with fellow believers, and serve in our local church. We also know that it is vital to maintain a healthy thought life if we want to win the battles of the mind. We do this by also staying in the Word of God, praying, and talking to our leaders, family members, and friends, or going to counseling. But how many of us think about the fact that our bodies are also just as important as our mind and spirit? I know this is a controversial thought, but think about it this way: If Jesus didn’t have a body to sacrifice on the cross, then there would be no resurrection and no hope for you and me. He had to die a PHYSICAL death to atone for the sins of the world. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice because He lived a sinless life. And because He died and rose again, we now have the chance to live with Him and God the Father forever in Heaven! So don’t tell me our bodies don’t carry the same significance as our mind, soul, and spirit. We are made in the image of God! All parts of our human nature are different but are of EQUAL importance.
Now that we are clear about the importance of our physical bodies, let’s get into the why.
Why should we work out? Why should we be conscious of what we eat and drink? I think we all know the practical answer to these questions: It's good for you! But just because it’s good for us doesn’t mean it's something we want to do. This can be applied to so many areas of our lives. Whether it's having a difficult conversation with a friend, forgiving someone, speaking kindly to a mean coworker, or getting up early to have quiet time with God in the morning. But let me tell you this honest truth: God’s best for you lies beyond your comfort zone. You will never reach your full potential if you give up when it gets tough. If you try to live your life just to be “comfortable”, then you may never know the fullness and greatness of God’s blessings in your life.
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT)
The World’s View vs. God’s View
I know many of you are probably thinking that working out is just to boost your own ego and vanity…and trust me I did too for some time. But what if I told you that working out is more than just looking good for your own ambitions? That it’s more than just trying to love yourself based on the world’s standards? When you exercise for the right reasons, it is actually a very holy and selfless act. When you first start exercising, it straight up sucks. I don’t care who you are, it is not fun! But my main motivation was not to look good, it was to feel good and to take care of the body God had given me. Remember: we are not owners, we are stewards. Nothing we “have” is ours – including our physical bodies. How well are you stewarding the body God gave you? This is not about comparing yourself to others – it’s about how well you are taking care of the body you have been given.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
Calloused Hands Build the Kingdom
Ever since I started exercising consistently about three years ago, I noticed that I have developed some callouses on the inside of my knuckles. This has helped me to not only have better grip strength, but also to be able to lift heavier weight. I chose to put myself through temporary physical pain so I could become physically stronger long-term. And ever since I started serving at My City Church, guess what? There are a lot of physical demands! But the level of my physical fitness has allowed me to endure more physical demands that have been required to advance the Kingdom of God.
Remember, Jesus’s vocation was a carpenter. He was an active dude! If Jesus was not somewhat physically fit, there would be NO WAY He could walk for miles each day to minister to people all over Judea and Samaria. Whether you believe it or not, physical fitness is a spiritual discipline. Dying to my flesh isn’t just a spiritual act – it’s a physical one, too! I would rather put myself through temporary physical pain than let my health deteriorate and limit me on what I can and can’t do. Physical fitness leads to physical freedom. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my body to limit me in how I can serve the Kingdom of God here on earth. If My City Church has an “I Love My City” outreach event (and we do – August 28th, 2021 – so sign up here!), I want to give it my ALL and not be tired after just 30 minutes of physical labor. We are meant to live in freedom – and that includes EVERY area of our lives! If our goal is to be like Jesus, then physical health is a part of that. Let us not neglect working on our physical bodies just as much as our spirit and mind because ALL are necessary to do the good work God has called us to do here on the earth. So let’s hit the gym so we can be fit for the fight!
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17 (ESV)
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