Beads of sweat dripped down my forehead. My back was now drenched and I didn’t smell all that pleasant anymore. My muscles hurt, my lungs felt stiff and I desperately needed water. I kept pushing myself harder and harder, thinking that I was going to push myself as much as I needed to in order to look like that other girl; the one with abs and thin legs and toned biceps. And almost instantly, I remember the Holy Spirit laying on my heart that I am doing this for the wrong reasons. I wasn’t honoring the Lord, but rather, trying to be like someone else had become a form of idolatry. And it broke me, right then and there. I know I am not the only one who has found themselves in this scenario or one similar to this. Social media has a big part to play in this for me and I am sure many other people around me.
Something I have learned through reading the Word is that our value is not found in the things of this world or the “promises” it has to offer. This blog is not to put down exercise or working out, but rather, the idea that you have to look like that man or woman on the magazine cover in order to be beautiful and valuable. The thoughts like this are lies straight from the enemy; that in order to be valuable, desirable, lovable or cherished, you have to have this body type or this skin color. It is a lie! Our worth and value goes SO far beyond what our bodies look like. Now that doesn’t mean that we should be stagnant and never be driven to be healthy. I believe the Lord intends for us to be healthy, taking good care of our bodies and understanding that it isn’t about how we look, but rather how healthy we are. I really want to emphasize what the bible says about honoring God with our bodies.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. In all we do, we are called to honor God with our body; in fitness, in our sexually purity, in the way we dress and in the way we conduct ourselves every day. It is important to remember that God values us more than anything or anyone else ever could. Something that has always caught my eye is in Genesis 1:27 when it says that “God created mankind in his own image.” We are made in the likeness of our Creator, and that in and of itself shows how valuable we actually are.
Our standards of what true beauty is and where our value comes from needs to be found in the Word; in Jesus Christ alone. Society has such a twisted way of thinking about what beauty is and where men and women are to find their value. The things of this world will not last, they will fade away. Our bodies are not going to last forever and we will not always look like that fitness model we so desperately want to mimic. But our spirit will one day live eternally, and that is what we need to focus on. It is a matter in which we present ourselves, our lives, before the Lord and where our hearts are focused during the fitness journey we go through.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with exercising and eating healthy. I would actually encourage people to work hard and take care of the body God has given you. But we have to make sure that we are worshiping God in it, not ourselves, and not our bodies. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:14. We are wonderfully made!! With such value and preciousness, God created us. It is not up to the world to tell us how to be beautiful when Christ already told us how special and valued we are to Him.
Something I pray you are able to take away from this blog today is that our value and our worth is found in Christ! “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothing. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4. God cares about our hearts, about where we are in our walk with Him and how deep our relationship with Him is. When you go and work out, do so with the knowledge that God has given us this body to take care of and to honor Him with. And to the men who are reading this, this blog is not just for ladies. I personally know it is a much bigger struggle for women than men, but I know men struggle with this too.
Exercising has always been something I have connected to our walks as Christians and I hope it does for you too. Working out is not always easy and it is not always fun. It takes hard work, training, perseverance, and determination. Just like the life of a follower of Christ. It is not easy, we have to constantly be training ourselves to think and act like Christ. There is lots of perseverance that is required to stand firm in our faith and resist the enemy. We are called to take care of our bodies just like we are called to take care of our soul. Honor God in all you do, whether that be working out or eating healthy or anything else. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:17.
Know today that you are absolutely precious and valuable to the Lord. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. We are loved, we are precious, we are valuable! And I pray that no matter what we do, that we give Him praise and glory. I hope this has brought you some encouragement to you today and that the Holy Spirit moves within the hearts of Christians. God bless!