Are Christians supposed to exercise differently from non-Christians?
In God’s grand design, everything we do as believers is to bring glory to God and to draw us closer to him. Is it possible, in the countless hours of sweat and exertion, to strengthen not only our muscles, but also our relationship with God?
God made our bodies to move. He wired our brains and how they respond to exercise. It has been verified that exercise produces “endorphins.” Endorphins lift our mood. In fact, the ability to exercise is a gift that benefits our bodies in countless ways. These benefits are enjoyed by both nonbelievers and believers. Believers however, can enjoy added benefits if we choose to bring God into our exercise time. Here are some suggestions to change your gym time to exercise like a believer.
Start your work out time with prayer. Recognize that the ability to move and to exercise is a gift from God. Give God thanks and praise for your body and how wonderfully you are made. Praise him for your arms and legs, your muscles, lungs, and brain.
Remember to see yourself as a temple that houses God’s Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV says, “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.” God’s Spirit is in YOU. With every step, or push up, or circle around the track, remember that you are strengthening God’s house.
Seek God’s desires for you through exercise. While some struggle to be motivated to exercise, others focus on exercise at the expense of time with family or God. God’s desire is a balanced life. Ask God to show you his desired balance in your exercise time.
Thank God when things get tough. As you struggle or find new exercises difficult, thank God for the sacrifice he made for you and remember that your first reason to exercise is to honor God.
Draw your energy from God. Tell God that you hope your exercise honored him and end your exercise with a prayer of thanks.
For Christians, exercise is not just exercise. It is a gift God gives to us and we give back to God when we put forth our efforts. As we honor God, our exercise definitely can be different from that of a nonbeliever.
“For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV).