Fitness Magazine

Fitness As Worship

By Byfitnessgym92
Fitness As Worship
There is one thing that we need to be abundantly clear about--taking care of your body is not mere vanity, but about worshipping and honoring God with our whole person. Fitness and faith are connected. God does not demand our bodies because he wants cover girls and fitness models. We take care of our bodies because we Love God not merely because we want to Look Good. What God desires is a body that is completely submitted to Him and is available to be used for His service.
"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." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)
In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God dwelt in the Temple, or the Tabernacle. It was a "house" built for him by men. The Temple of God in the Old Testament was a sacred, holy place. Great care was taken in its construction and it was treated with the utmost honor and respect. There were also very strict guidelines about what was allowed to enter the temple so that it would not be desecrated. This is true of every temple of every religion in the world. The reason such great care was taken in the construction and care of temples is that they were to let everyone know that a great and glorious god lived there. Again, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and are meant to display the glory of God.
In the New Testament we see that God has moved his dwelling place from a house built by men and dwells within the physical bodies of believers. How much more should we take care of our bodies to let the world know that we are the dwelling place of the Spirit of the Most High God? Would you walk into your church sanctuary with two trash cans and throw garbage all over God's house? Probably not. What about taking a sledge hammer and destroying the building, or even simply ignoring routine building maintenance? Again, probably not. However, you could be doing even worse than that every day by what you put into your body and by neglecting it through lack of physical activity. Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, said:
I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not "set aside the grace of God"- make it ineffective (Galatians 2:21 ). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved- I am saved... What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple. Once I agree, all the rules, regulations, and requirements of the law concerning the body are summed up for me in this revealed truth-my body is "the temple of the Holy Spirit."
There is a second aspect of our bodies being a temple of the Holy Spirit: They don't belong to us! This verse reminds us that we are not our own. The reason we are not our own is that we are bought with a price. That price was the precious blood of Christ. The reason we are to glorify God with our bodies is that they are bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. Our bodies declare the glory of the Most High God.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1 ESV)
Paul begins this statement with the word "therefore." I remember being told once that anytime we see a "therefore" in Scripture, we should ask ourselves the question: "What's that therefore there for?" Sounds silly, but it's actually very good advice. We have to back up and look at what precedes that verse, in this case, the first 11 chapters of Romans. Paul is kind enough in this instance to sum it up for us with the phrase "by the mercies of God." God has been merciful to we who are completely undeserving by sacrificing Himself for us. Christ willingly sacrificed His body on our behalf, therefore, we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to him. John Piper commented on this verse:
The point here is not to present to God your bodies and not your mind or heart or spirit. He is going to say very clearly in verse two: "Be transformed in the renewal of your mind." The point is to stress that your body counts. You belong to God soul and body, or you don't belong to him at all. Your body matters.
But what do our bodies have to do with worship? Worship literally means "worth-ship." It is honoring God and declaring that He is indeed worthy of all that we are, of every aspect of our being. We are told to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. When we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice we are saying that He is worth it. We recognize the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf and that He has purchased us with His blood. When we agree with God that our bodies are His we are simply giving back to Him what is already His. Conversely, if we use our bodies as we see fit and withhold them from God we are telling Him that He is not worthy. We are saying that our bodies are our own. Do you use your body to declare the worth of God or the worth of your own desires?
In the weeks following the tsunami of 2004, our pastor told the congregation that he believed every Christian should have a passport so that they are ready to go serve God anywhere at anytime. I believe the same thing is true of our bodies. The more healthy and fit your body is, the more available you are for God to use you. Our Lord told us in the great commission that we are to make disciples. You and I are disciples. A true disciple is disciplined. The Apostle Paul reminds us:
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV)
Notice that Paul says that we should exercise self-control, or discipline, in every area of our life. He goes on to say specifically that he disciplines his body and makes it his slave. Paul says that when he exercises self-control it is not aimless and random, but focused and with purpose. Notice what Paul says next. He says exercising self-control is like boxing, and the opponent to be struck is the body. When he swings, he does not miss, but connects and pummels his body and he beats it into submission. He will not be mastered by the desires and appetites and laziness of the flesh. Paul is determined to glorify God in his body. When it comes to our health, we are literally in a fight for our lives.
All of this talk about self-discipline might seem depressing unless we realize that God gives us guidelines for our benefit. Jesus tells us that he came to give us abundant life on earth.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)
The New Living Translation renders it "My purpose is to give life in all its fullness" (John 10:10 NLT).
The bottom line? We worship God by taking care of our bodies, using them to serve him and living life in all of its fullness.

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