5 Ways to Integrate Faith and Fitness


I love to work out. Seriously, love it. I love the pre-workout jitters. The mid-workout mental push. The post-workout lay-on-the-ground feeling. The sore feeling later that day. And the anticipation of tomorrow’s coming workout. I also live a life of faith. I spend time every day on my relationship with Jesus. I work to grow closer to God and help others do the same, not because I have to earn His love…but because I get to because I’ve been loved first. (1 John 4:19)

And I'm fully convinced that these two aspects of my life aren't at odds. Some people may see fitness and faith as competing interests, but not me. In fact, 1 Timothy 4 tells us that physical training is of value (though maybe not the most valuable thing). 1 Corinthians 6 tells us that our bodies are not our own, and that we honor God by the way we treat them.

But HOW do you integrate faith and fitness?

5 Ways to Integrate Faith and Fitness

1. Know your why

Knowing why you're doing anything is vitally important. Knowing why you live where you live, why you work where you work, and why you love what you love helps make sense of life. Knowing why you're working out is equally important. What's your why? For me, one of the big answers to that question is that I want to continue to be healthy for my children, and be physically able to roll around on the ground and play with them. For me, that's how I can honor God with my fitness each and every day: to live out my primary calling to my family.

2. Live holistically

Don't live a compartmentalized life. Holistic living means that you see all of life as connected. It means you see that God has a hand and a purpose in everything. Every meal, every workout, and every conversation has a purpose and meaning. So going to the gym isn't simply a disconnected act. It's a vital part of who you are and the mission God's created you with.

3. Pursue character and integrity

Integrity: (noun) whole and undivided. To have integrity means that who you are in the gym is who you are on Sunday mornings. Who you are on your pre-workout drink is who you are on a Saturday night. A life that lacks integrity isn't a life worth following.

4. Be the light

Jesus calls His followers "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). In a world that's full of darkness, we get to live as light, bringing hope, healing, and restoration to everything we do and everyone we meet. We don't do this because we have innate abilities, but because we serve a God who's in the business of love. Be the light in the community at your gym!

5. Don't waste your life

Work hard. Don't give half of your effort. Leave it all on the floor every day in the gym, with your nutrition, and with your faith. You won't be healthy with a half-hearted effort. To show up to the gym and walk through the motions is a waste. If you're going to do that, just don't go! With our faith, God doesn't demand half of our hearts... He wants all of us! Take that same principle to the gym: give it your all.

Now, you don't have to be a professional competitive athlete to integrate faith and fitness. You just have to be intentional.

So how will you integrate your faith with your fitness in 2020?

- Ben Reed

Pastor Ben Reed

Ben Reed is a Pastor at Mission Community Church just outside of Phoenix, AZ. He and his wife have three kids. He is the author of the book, Starting Small, and blogs at BenReed.net. Ben is also a runner, a Cross-fitter, and an avid coffee drinker.


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