Posted on November 26 2016
Life is crazy. The old days of just worrying about food, drink and shelter are long gone; replaced by an existence in which people have to choose what to forfeit in order to fit something new in. In the midst of this, followers of Christ can get swept up in all of the distractions that are thrown their way.
One of the things that often gets washed away with the waves of distraction is physical fitness. Sin is always a result our own selfish desire in some form, so many people lose sight of fitness altogether if it is not something that they long for. But there are those of us who just happen to love physical fitness; those various types of athletes among us who don't have to "fit in" a workout, but who think of it all day long. Yet even for us, there is distraction. There is the temptation to not worry so much about what we eat as long as we get a decent run in, or to miss that leg day because we had a rough afternoon at work. There may even be an enticement to overeat in order to hit that next weight class or to run a cycle of steroids just to get that tricep to pop a bit more for the upcoming show. Regardless of who we are or what we like, distraction and temptation show themselves.
But there is some good news: We have a God who makes it all notoriously simple if we allow it to be. Everything comes back to Jesus, including what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. "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." While this passage is dealing specifically with sexual sin, it has wider-ranging applications than that. We are called to care for our bodies in every way. In the United States, we often feel a sense of entitlement that even extends to our faith. If we aren't careful, we may allow ourselves to feel entitled to Jesus's sacrifice. But we aren't entitled to it, we are given it as a gift. Our ransom is paid. We were bought at an incredibly expensive price, paid by One who had no obligation to spend the currency. When we remind ourselves of that, suddenly we become much more grateful. We want to care for this body that we are given, and in which the Lord has taken up residence.
An interesting thing about God is that when He says to do something (like care for your body), He has a reason for saying it. He is not like the parent who tells his child that she can't play with her toys "because I said so" when he really means "because I can't think of a better reason." The Father has purposes even when we don't understand them. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:8-9 that "bodily training is of some value." What did he have in mind here? One obvious meaning is caring for the body that you have, but another may have been simply being more capable in your daily life. You know that friend who doesn't like to stay in one house for more than a couple of years and always needs help moving? It's definitely a more pleasant experience to move a 200 pound table when you are used to lifting heavy things. And do you know what else is easier when you are in shape? Picking up your kids, mowing your neighbor's lawn for them, carrying groceries up stairs, and countless other things in everyday life. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 to "be imitators of me as I am of Christ." We should be the type of people who others can wisely imitate. This includes being good stewards of what we are given and using it wisely.
So while there are many ways that an athlete can draw motivation from their faith, one of the biggest is that God has given us these bodies to care for, He bought them back when we ran away with them, and He wants them to be used for good. Now go and crush that workout today!
Guest Blogger - Brandon Woodruff