As Christians we are called to honor God with our bodies 1 Corinthians 6:20 and that in whatever we do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 We honor God when we take care of our bodies, living a lifestyle of health. Our healthy lifestyle can also give glory to God when we thank Him for our body, our health, and the privilege that we get to enjoy good health and fitness and offer our training to him as worship. Living a healthy lifestyle can also bring glory to God when others are inspired to live a lifestyle of health through our example.
Fitness is a balancing act though, as physical workouts are of value but we must be careful not to become narcissistic and self-consumed. 1 Timothy 4:8
However, fitness can help you in your faith because it teaches us valuable life skills.
Fitness teaches us self control and moderation. Fitness helps us to exercise self-control and moderation in our eating habits because good nutrition is an important habit to help us in feeling and functioning our best in all aspects of our lives. Self-control is necessary for our faith. We are to exercise self-control in the words we say, our actions, and even our thoughts. We are to work toward self-control in everything.
Fitness helps us learn self-discipline. A lifestyle of fitness requires discipline to make time for training, sometimes that means getting up early, making time for planning healthy meals, and discipline for eating quality food. Self-discipline is vital to our faith, discipline to make time to spend with the Lord, discipline to read and study the bible, discipline to do things that might be inconvenient but important.
Physical fitness helps us develop physical endurance. Training requires us to run for periods, moving our bodies for long durations of time. We build cardiovascular endurance and muscular endurance from working out. Endurance is an important quality to develop in our faith. When times get tough, and things get hard, we need spiritual endurance to keep going. We trust in the endurance we have built and trust ourselves to be able to keep going despite exhaustion.
Fitness helps us with goal setting. Goals help us grow and change. Goals also help us to have a sense of purpose and drive. Depending on the person we set weight loss goals, we set strength goals, we set competition goals, we set performance goals, we set health goals. Goal setting is also part of our faith. We set goals to become more like Christ, we set God as our goal for our daily life. We set goals to read the Bible daily, or read the entire bible in a year, or get a mentor to help us grow in our faith, or be a part of a small group. Goals help us grow because, without a goal, we cannot score. In life, if we aren't setting goals and working toward them, we are just staying the same and humans thrive on growth.
Fitness teaches us perseverance, to keep working toward a goal we set and to reach these goals, we must keep going, we must persevere. Perseverance is important in our faith. Life is hard, we WILL face obstacles, challenges are part of LIFE, and we will need to persist and persevere through them and practice resilience. Life happens so we might miss a workout, but that doesn't mean give up altogether, you pick back up the next day. Life happens and you might not have control over the meal you eat at a party, but you don't give up, you pick back up and persist. Hard things will happen in your life, you will face losses, disappointments, and unexpected circumstances and situations and in these, you have the opportunity to build and practice perseverance.
Fitness teaches us how to build physical strength, we consistently lift weights, training our muscles regularly to make them stronger, and maintain that strength as well. This takes consistent action. The same applies to our faith, training our spiritual strength takes consistent work and effort. You don’t get big strong muscles just by going to the gym once a week, the same applies to your spiritual strength, you must consistently devote time to building it, daily time in the word, praying and building your relationship with Christ.
Many of us use fitness and training as a form of stress management. We train because it is an outlet for us, calming our anxieties and boosting our mood for the day. The same applies to our faith, our time with the Lord is a form of stress management for our soul. He calms our anxieties and boosts our joy and peace.
Charissa Sutliff is an Online Fitness & Nutrition Development Coach, a Competition Prep Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is enthusiastic about faith, working out, healthy nutrition, meditating, learning, growing and coffee!