I am including the song “I Will Love You” to accompany this week’s blog. Please enjoy it as you read!
Sean is an amazing trainer and friend who has traveled all over the world helping people get fit, and has even worked with people like Jillian Michaels of “The Biggest Loser”.
Sean and his wife Kay have run with me in a running group and have also served with me in ministry. I love their heart for God and their commitment to staying fit spiritually, physically, and in their marriage and family life. They are people who consciously and holistically work at their relationship with God and each other so that they will be useful and effective in bringing Christ to other people. Sean and Kay are all about encouraging people and they have an enthusiastic and positive approach.
Sean and Kay remind me that all-around fitness is a part of a life of worship.
To be clear, I’m not saying that we should get so obsessed with our mortal, earthly bodies that they become more important than God. I’m also not saying that we have to go into performance mode to try to make ourselves look good or right before God. Jesus took care of that for us when we said yes to Him and received the ‘forever’ spiritual clothing of His righteousness. Finally God loves us regardless of our physical abilities or disabilities, body-types, or flaws so it’s not about what we look like on the outside.
What I am saying is that our relationship with God is nourished and deepened by what I call “worship fitness”. This is a God-prescribed way of staying in close harmony with Him, because this world, culture, and our very nature are such that we can be tempted to drift and waver in our relationship with Him.
Many Christians over the centuries have bought into the false notion that there is a disconnect between the body and spirit, when in fact the Bible makes it clear that God created and views us in our totality. God cares about both our inner and outer being. The Bible clearly states that someday all people who have a dynamic, loving, and transformational relationship with Jesus Christ will experience an eternal transformation of our bodies that is both physical and spiritual.
The components of worship fitness include both spiritual (inner) and physical (outer) ones. Here’s the big takeaway: God wants to train us
! If you think I’m a little off base, here are 2 passages from the New Testament worth reading and reflecting on:
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. “
1 Timothy 4:7-8
Paul says both physical and spiritual training have worth even as he emphasizes training for godliness for eternity.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Did you get that? We are to honor God with our bodies. Not worship the temple of our body, but take care of it and offer it to God as an act of worship. It’s also important to understand that we live in a broken world with bodies that are temporary until Christ comes again, so it’s God’s presence inside us that matters. But we are to honor and use the temple God has given us, not abuse or neglect it.
If you are feeling “out of shape” either spiritually or physically, it’s not too late to start.
Ask God to show you how He wants to train you in your relationship with Him.
Without trying to be formulaic, here are a few starter suggestions:
*Set up a regular time of prayer each day. Keep a record of your prayer requests (on your smart phone, computer, or in writing) so God can show you over time His faithfulness in answering them.
*Go on a retreat to re-connect with God and kick-start your training for godliness.
*Regularly read a book from the Bible, and have a companion commentary on hand to help you understand it. (I really like the “Smart Guide to the Bible” series)
*Join a good Christian Bible study to help you understand the deeper intended meanings of Scripture. I lead a Bible Study every Monday night in Maple Grove MN, and love how God is training us!
*Make a commitment to worship and get together with other Christ-followers once a week.
*Serve other people at an outreach ministry that God puts on you heart. Pay attention to the invitations that come your way.
*Get a physical exam. Work with your doctor to find ways you can live a healthier lifestyle.
And maybe even schedule regular time to walk, run, swim, do cross-fit, ski, exercise, or join a fitness group.
I know this list is incomplete, so I invite you to let me know the ways God is training you.