Bible Study Part #11
A person’s aim when working out must be to become strong in a way that makes Jesus look strong. In other words, true strength occurs when we seek to be strong in the strength of Christ. Not strength in ourselves, but strength in the Lord. We’ve must figure that out or we will be idolaters.
Bring to the Gym…
#1 Your Identity
Christians have the great blessing of entering the gym with an identity instead of going to the gym in search of one. “We are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16–17). What higher calling or greater identity could there be? Those who have the blood-bought approval of God need not rush after the temporary and fickle approval of other mere humans. God can clap louder and longer than people. Live for His applause, not theirs.
As heirs of God, we also have the hope of an eternity with God. This sure promise of eternity unveils the foolishness of storing up our treasures on earth. Such treasures of physique and good looks are not inherently bad in and of themselves. However, they are very temporary and bound to rot with the passing of time (Matthew 6:19). In eternity, our burdensome and perishable bodies will be replaced by a heavenly body, one that will be imperishable and raised in glory and power (1 Corinthians 15:42–43). We should give thanks to God for our earthly bodies and seek to steward them well with diet and exercise. However, we must also recognize their temporary nature and value them accordingly.
As those approved by God, we recognize that “bodily training is of some value” (1 Timothy 4:8), and therefore we hop onto treadmills and reach out for dumbbells. Yet, our greater priority is growth in godliness, which “is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).
So, instead of being motivated by the earthly treasure of a magazine-cover body, we are spurred on by the eternal treasure of a God-loving soul (Matthew 6:19-20). It is good for us to be stewards of our physical bodies and work to build or maintain a healthy body composition. But our primary concern is not a firm bicep. It is a soft heart. Our goal is to walk out of the gym with a greater love for Jesus than when we entered. To do this, we must take joy seriously.
In the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, our chief end is “to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.” With an identity firmly rooted in Christ, believers are enabled to do exactly that in the gym. Feel His joy as you engage in physical exercises, sports, and competitions.
Allow His delight to fill you in your swimming, running, stretching, or lifting. Marvel at God in the way He created your body to move, work, grow, and react. Savor the feeling of accomplishment He provides as you push through the final stages of a difficult workout and arrive at the finish line. In all forms of exercise, praise Him for the freedom you experience. Know that you are dearly loved by the God of the universe, regardless of your physical outcomes.
#3 The Gospel
Remember, exercise is part of what makes us stronger and healthier SO THAT WE CAN GO LIVE AND SHARE THE GOSPEL MORE AND BETTER! USE your strength for good. Not just to look good.
Remember your WHY.
It’s THE GOSPEL!
The MissionFiT Team