The Game Changer:
When your workout isn’t to get the body you want, but a way to love on Jesus and worship Him with your mind and body.
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.
Have you ever noticed how vain and empty doing fitness the world’s way can be? I certainly have. I mean, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you that we’re living in a body-obsessed, selfie-overloaded, diet-pressing, guilt-shaming society.
I fell in love with exercise when I was a child. I enjoyed playing outside with my older sister and younger brother and taking karate classes. In junior high, I added cheerleading to the list and Jane Fonda’s aerobics workouts (on VHS, of course). I can still hear the song sung by Leslie Lilien called, “Do It” in one of my favorite Fonda workouts on the small, but giant box of a TV.
It continued on in high school with various sports and I started attending workout classes at the local gym. Coming from an unsettled home, exercise was such a friend to me. It gave me an outlet and a focus. However, it also instilled in me a worldly desire to be approved by people and accepted as worthy. I was hungry for someone to ‘see’ me and all my hard work. Maybe if ‘they’ did, then, I would feel valued and good enough on the inside.
It’s no wonder that I chose to become a fitness instructor. At the age of 20, and with a new husband and infant son, I was passionate about motivating others to move and feel the happiness and accomplishment that I felt during and after a good workout.
When I was a child, I fell in love with Jesus, too. Despite a few rebellious teenage years that I’m not proud of, He was and is my main obsession. Even though many challenges and difficulties growing up, I knew He was with me and loved me.
In those early adult years of, dedicating my life fully to Jesus, I began to notice the connection between working out and God working something new in me. He started revealing the truth to me through the discipline and the pain. When I surrendered my movement and my mind to His love and guidance, I gained clarity… I could see! The exercise wasn’t just for my body, but for so much more – for ALL of me: my body, mind, AND spirit. God wanted to heal me and make me well in all areas of my life.
The exercise wasn’t just for my body, but for so much more – for ALL of me: my body, mind, AND spirit. God wanted to heal me and make me well in all areas of my life.
His revelation power began to illuminate me! The Holy Spirit was depositing common sense truths and beautiful pictures into my heart that poured in like water:
- Exercise is a GIFT from God to us, to fuel us for our purpose and destiny!
- God made us for this!
- Physical movement is not man’s idea but God’s design and intention for us.
- Exercise is not only beneficial for the body and mind but also for the spirit. It grows our faith, refines our character, and develops perseverance in us as we depend upon Him and move in His grace.
- His love compels us to move. When our identity is grounded in Christ, we no longer exercise to gain the approval of others or to feel loved or accepted; we move from the truth: we are unconditionally loved and accepted in Jesus. This gives us GOD-confidence and spurs us forward to move. We are free to love Him and be healthy and well for Him and others. God has good work for us to do.
- We GET to workout and dedicate every step, every workout, as an act of obedience and worship to Jesus. We thrive in the struggle.
- When we make the body a slave through physical and mental disciplines, instead of being enslaved to the body, we get out of our own way and position our mind, will, emotions, and spirit to receive from God. We set ourselves up to gain greater insight through the Holy Spirit!
- We attain strength and vitality to literally run our life race and to do the things that He has called us to do with more energy and enthusiasm. Hope rises up!
- Truly, health and fitness are two of the most amazing blessings from the Lord!
So, where do we go from here?
We can find an excuse or we can make a way. The good news: we don’t have to try to make a way and walk this journey alone. In fact, God doesn’t intend for us too. The Way Maker, Jesus Christ, wants to partner with us, change our perspective, and empower our every step. He will be with you and never leave you or forsake you.
So, how can you begin to take your eyes off of the world’s design for your fitness and instead turn your eyes upon Jesus and worship Him with your workouts?
- Ask the Holy Spirit for a fresh perspective. Ask Him to reveal any lies you have believed about your body and your worth. How has the world shaped your mindset and view of yourself and others in the areas of fitness and health? Get still before the Lord and write down what He shows you.
- Take wrong thoughts captive and replace them with the truth from the Word of God, one thought at a time. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Look to Jesus and fix your eyes upon Him. Think about the life that He lived in the body and the bodily sacrifice He gave for us on the cross. Think about the promises to come through His Resurrection. He is our Ultimate Champion and Example for victorious living! Because He overcame, we overcome!
- Practice patience and courageous faith. This is not a sprint. This is a journey of becoming. Be faithful in the steps. Allow God to do the work He wants to do in you, transforming you into the new person He created you to be, one breath at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time. Show yourself grace.
- Believe in God’s love for you. Speak His life over your mind and body. You will never come up higher than your own confession about yourself. God says you are loved, cherished, chosen, accepted, known, and alive for such a time as this! So, take action and see it as an act of love and obedience toward our Good Father. And, get excited about what He’s doing in you and your life! See the success He has in store for you, first, by faith.
- Practically speaking: whatever you can do when it comes to intentional movement and physical exercise, DO IT, even if it’s just five or ten minutes at a time. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel by achieving that workout and conquering this giant. Dedicate it to Jesus.
- ENJOY the journey with a heart of gratitude and joy! We can’t grumble and be grateful at the same time, so choose to praise God in all things and focus on what is working and not on what’s not. And, remember this: complaining and negativity burn zero calories!
- NEVER give up! God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask, think, or imagine according to His power at work within you. (Ephesians 3:20). If you’re still breathing, He’s not finished with you yet. Move forward, Champion in Christ, until God calls you home.
Work out with me at xonow.com/fitness
We can find an excuse or we can make a way.