Day 1 … 55 to go. Motivation from the Bible to exercise ?

Well, I’ve wanted to get this blog off for a while now, but had no idea how to begin, or what to chat about. I have PLENTY to write about, but it would come across disjointed and unfulfilled, until now… 

Since Lisa and I had our little girl Amelia, I’ve noticed certain ‘pillowiness’ around me in general. I mean, I’ve heard of new dad’s putting on a little around this time, but really… was that going to happen to me? Surely not! Alas, 14 weeks later and I’m not feeling 100%, feeling a little slower than normal, head’s all cloudy and just plain tired. Maybe, just maybe it might be the few extra kg’s…… maybe…

Well great! I’ve a few months till study begins again, can’t think straight. Summer is almost here, would really love to not be embarrassed to not wear a T-shirt. And I need the all the energy I have to help look after a little one and my darling wife. What am I to do??

Not hard to figure out what I need to do, but you know what!? It is so easy to tell yourself you need to get fit and that ‘You Can Do It’, but it’s a completely different thing to motivate yourself at 5am, dragging your sorry butt out of a nice warm bed, into the cold morning air. But somehow I did it this morning……

The other day I sat down and contemplated some good reasons why I should dedicate time to exercise and fitness, and the top three that came to mind was that 1) I want to live a long life to care for my family; 2) I want to honour my wife with taking care of myself physically; and 3) I want to feel good about myself. Reasonable reasons I thought, loving, honouring, and self-esteem building. This is what I thought, but something was stirring inside of me, these reasons were not enough! If I was to go out on my own strength and will to get fit with these three reasons in mind, I’d surely fail, I’ve seen it before. In fact I’m sure I’ve seen it at least once a year for the past 8 years.

Funnily enough this concept begins to touch on the subject of identity, who am I? Who am I to my family? Who am I to my work colleagues? …….Who am I in Christ? Were my motivations and desire to get in shape all together right or wrong? Well I discovered that they were both right and wrong. Right in the sense that I want to honour the love of my life Lisa, and kind of right with wanting to look after my family, but pretty wrong with wanting to feel good about myself. Although being physically fit can make you feel great about yourself, it is useless if your relationship with Jesus is weak or worse, tethering on nonexistence (thankfully not this for me!), We should be fully satisfied and construct our identity on the shoulders of our infallible God, in imitation of God the Son, by God the spirit. Then the following bit of scripture came to mind to find a reason to why I should dedicate time to fitness:

1 Corinthians 6:19–2019 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, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

‘Temple for the Holy Spirit’… ‘you are not your own’… ‘bought with a price’… and here is the big one, ‘So glorify God in your body’. To break this down to understand what it means to glorify God in our body, I think it is helpful to look at what it looks like to NOT glorify God with our bodies. Laziness, stubbornness, neglect, and ignorance. Do these four words or even categories sound remotely pleasing to our God, no! Now imagine that state of one’s body when they apply the previous for terms to themselves, not a very good sight, physically not great, and mental ability reduced.

I always thought that this passage from Corinthians only applied to subjects such as drunkenness, sexual immorality, and the like, for the purpose of upholding the image of Christ. However we need to remember that our bodies are “not your own”, and that God indeed payed a price for us, the biggest price, his only Son! Why on earth would you not look after it?

But now I can almost hear you say “but it is in the heart that we are taught to glorify God, and from this our outward actions follow in his glorification”, and I agree completely, in fact in Paul’s first letter to Timothy he says

Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come

But you can see here that Paul say’s that bodily training has some value, and not necessarily something that should be ignored, especially when we can consider the mental and physical benefits.

Recently links have been made between increased mental awareness/ability and exercise. Scientists are still trying to work out exactly which chemicals are causing these, but they have deducted that exercise is a great trigger to naturally boost our minds and also help keep a positive outlook on things. I don’t know about you, but I sure could use better mental ability when studying or meditating on God’s word. 

Exercise is a good and wise thing to do regularly. Not only does it increase your physical ability, it increases your mental cognition. Serving God is not just a thing of the heart and mind, it involves being physical, ready for every situation to present the great message of Jesus. 

NOW……… these have been my thoughts of the past few days…. What do you think? Is it important to physically look after the body that God has given to you for the purpose of glorification (not of us but God)? And how can we as sinful people not turn exercise into an idol in which we begin to worship and neglect other things, especially doing it for the glory of God?

 

For now, I’ve just started an eight week challenge to lose a few kg, now approaching it with the aforementioned ideas to motivate and encourage me to continue, and completely relying on God for the strength to endure physically and mentally.

 

Weight: 93 Kg @ week 1 (30/9/13) Picture to follow.

 

Please check this blog occasionally to see how I progress, I’m praying for effectiveness in not just physical ability, but also increased clarity and concentration when I study and also reading God’s word.

 Thanks for reading! 

 Steve

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