Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fitness and Faith

“If you’re a Christian, why do you work out? Didn’t God make you the way you are?”

I love when people are brave enough to say what is on their minds! This question was asked of me by a young woman that I am attempting to start a mentoring relationship with. She asked me this after seeing picture of the gym my husband has put together in our garage.  So today I am going to tackle the issue of physical fitness and faith from my standpoint. Let me begin by saying that these opinions are purely my own. Comments and questions are welcomed but any lewd or unkind comments will be removed. This is a Christian blog; keep it Christ-like please!

We are surrounded by a culture that tells us exactly what our bodies should look like.  Magazines at the supermarket scream the praises of the thin, and condemn the failures of the less than thin. My view on this is let it go. Being “thin” does not mean that you are fit. Society should not dictate what you do with your body; we live in a fallen world! I don’t train to be a size two. I want to be healthy! I want to be able to run and play and jump with my (future) children. I want to be able to go hiking with my husband and not be the reason that we have to stop every ten minutes. So when considering how fitness fits in with my daily schedule and Christian principles, I consider the following questions:
  • Am I happy with my body?
  • Is my husband happy with my body?
  • If there was an emergency, would I be able to move my husband (or anyone else for that matter) to safety?
  • Can I do all the things I need to do effectively?
  • If God said, “go to South America and be a missionary in the jungle,” would I be able to do the task that God assigned ? Or, would I need time to get in shape?


So how did I get here?
My husband has a Crossfit (functional fitness) certification and years of experience in coaching people to be healthier. In our home he has turned our garage into a gym. We have two racks, barbells, tires to drag, benches, tons of weights… the whole nine yards. Before we were married, my husband used this talent that God has given him as a ministry platform. He is able to reach guys with the gym that wouldn't step foot in a church setting. He opened up his home to families as well. He has two married couples that he couches five days a week, rain or shine. When I first started coming to visit and got a taste for the his passion I STRUGGLED with the fitness aspect. At first, I thought that working on your fitness level was prideful, that it showed a need to blend to the world’s standard of who we should be. 

Then I got in my Bible.

The number one thing that stuck out in my mind when I searched my Bible was 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which says, Or 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, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” God gave me this body for a time. I need to take good care of it. I need to be aware of the condition that my body is in. Titus 1:7-8 says, For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” So in answer to Staci's question. Yes, God made me the way I am. He gave me my body, and told me to take care of it. I don’t think spending an evening watching television is being a good steward of my body. Am I being disciplined and self-controlled? Let me tell you, spending an hour under a barbell you learn about self-control!

What about the modesty aspect? Gyms are notorious for their skin-bearing atmosphere.
In this fallen world, we are encouraged to flaunt our bodies in any and all environments. Christian women need to remember that we are called to be set apart. We need to model virtue in what we say, what we read, and what we wear. This is a tricky topic because people get caught up in “yes you can wear this” and “no you can’t wear that”. I think I may tackle this subject in a week or two, so stay posted. But for the sake of this article, my personal view of modesty is to keep my body covered in public. THIS INCLUDES THE GYM! But, we can go into more detail on this later.


Proverbs 31:17 says, She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. I want to serve God, honor my husband, and care for my children. I believe that I am better able to accomplish these goals if I take care of my body and keep it in a condition where I can go and do what I am called to do without fear of my body holding me back. So I strengthen my arms for the tasks God hands me.

9 comments:

  1. I love this post!! I am currently on a weight loss/better health regimine. I love that I am feeling better, better blood pressure numbers and able to walk without losing my breath. My reasons were that I was an unhealthy weight that was going to cut my life short. I am fully commited to being the best that God has made. Thanks for the encouragement!!

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  2. Oh my goodness! It is so good to hear another woman say these things!
    It's interesting that so many women read proverbs 31 with aspirations of being "the Proverbs 31 woman", but as much as that passage is expounded on, I've never heard anyone talk about the part that say "she strengthens her back and arms". She purposefully made herself fit for her tasks! I love that verse!

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  3. I personally had to stop going to the gym. The modesty aspect i had in hand (I think ..of course there are always ways to improve) but it was the atmosphere. The 'worship your body' mentality, the thumping music, the comparing, the eastern mysticism that so many Christians are embracing as 'just a stretching or relaxation regimen,' pressure to spend more and more time there, the materialism (you HAVE to have THESE kind of shoes, this brand water bottle, this fashion in headband,etc.) and lastly, the expense wasn't being good stewards of what God has placed in our hands. I feel relieved now that I exercise at home and outside. Just my own experience -not trying to be arrogant. I am so thankful you brought up Prov. 31, because that is a motivator for me when I want to 'just take a couple days off.'

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  4. Yes, he made us as we are- as infants. We are to glorify him in and with our bodies... so how we treat ourselves matters a lot. Once we are born, our bodies are pretty much the result of how we live... do we seek to stay in good shape in order to have energy to serve him better ? To enjoy the life he has given us ? to serve others? if we choose to sit and watch tv every chance we get, our bodies will be affected... same if we overeat or make eating an event.. a huge part of our lives... He gave us a variety of food and tastes, and we are to enjoy it, but eating is meant to enable us to have energy, not to be the focal point of our day. Just like shopping, eating and also tv have become gods of sorts.

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Morgan