I am a firm believer in working out and staying fit for one big reason. 1 Cor. 10:31 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” There are two implications from this verse that are massive for us in our daily living.
a) Because God tells us to do all to His glory, anything we do not to His glory is sinful.
b) Everything we do, from how we wake up, drink orange juice, talk to people, and lie down to sleep, ought to be done to the glory of God.
Therefore, if everything we do is to be done to the glory of God, this means that how we treat our bodies matters to God. This then means that we cannot use our bodies in any way we want to, as if we were the master of our own bodies; for doing so would show a lack of care and responsibility to God, who gave us these bodies and calls us to honor Him in using them.
Because of all this, it is my belief (and I think it should be yours as well) that working out and keeping some kind of regular exercise routine going is not only honoring to God, but should be a normal part of every Christians life. I wonder if that last sentence just went past you. I just said that if you never exercise and/or sit at home eating Twinkies and Ding Dongs all day, you’re sinning. God cares about our bodies, what we use them for, what we put in them, what we put on them, and how we take care of them. Now, we can’t stop here because we need to define what exactly this looks like. Here are two thoughts to help you:
10:31 and 4:8
Notice how I quoted 1 Cor. 10:31 earlier saying that we must do everything to God’s glory? Good, keep that in mind. When it comes to working out it is a fact that many people work out for the wrong reason; for their own glory and fame. All those mirrors in gyms are not merely for making sure your form is correct. This is sinful and Christians should be striving to get rid of this desire. Part of staying fit and working out as a Christian means the number one desire should be to honor God in our bodies, not our own physique.
So 1 Cor. 10:31 provides the “why” and part of the “how” to working out: Why? – to honor God in our bodies. How? – to glorify God, not us. The other half of the “how” of working out comes to us in 1 Tim. 4:8, which says, “…for bodily fitness is of some value, but godliness is of greater value, because it has benefit for this life and the life to come.” You see what Paul is saying? Staying fit is a good thing, but there is a greater thing, godliness. Why is it greater, because it has an eternal benefit, implying that fitness only has benefit for this life. This means that we should be more eager to build holiness and godliness into our lives than we are about working out our muscles to stay fit.
Have “some” Kind of Routine
Earlier I said that we all, as Christians, should have some kind of regular exercise routine in our lives. I use the word “some” purposefully, because we’re not all the same person, and because of that we ought to tweak our exercise regiment to our fitness level, fitness goals, and personalities. People have told me that I have an intense personality, which makes sense because the exercise routine I’ve been doing for the past 5 years is P90X. This is an intense program and not fit for all people, but it does work for my wife and I, so we do it. How do you find a program fit for you? Think about how God calls you to care for the body He gave you, think about who you are, what your fitness goals need to be, find or make a routine that works for you, and do it.
Don’t Miss This
Don’t miss the point here – God has graciously given us these bodies to use while we are here on earth, and it is these bodies that will be redeemed one day in the New Heavens and New Earth. Therefore, lets take care of what God has given us, seeking to be good stewards of His gifts, using them not for our own fame and glory, but for His.