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The Gym of Jesus

So many people go to the gym to burn fat, build muscle, and shape their bodies to a highly efficient calorie burning machine resulting in a culturally desired physic.  At what point do our bodies become our focus of worship and the gym becomes our masters?  First we need to understand our bodies from God's point of view then we can see how to live a fit and healthy life that glorifies God.

Living Sacrifice or Living Selfishly

God very much cares about our physical bodies and what we do with our bodies reflects our spirit (Rom 12:1).  But there is a difference between striving to keep our bodies healthy and striving to improve our physical appearance for others to see, approve, and desire.  When we focus on how hard we work to achieve a certain physical look; we then feel like we've earned it and take pride in ourselves.  The pride leads us to idolize our look.  We desire the glory of our heard work.  Pride in our culturally relative 'look' is damaging (Prov 16:18; James 4:6).

Standard of The Body Image

By believing that your body image and physical 'look' is not 'good' enough than you are buying into the cultural lie and not trusting in God (Psalm 139:13–14).  The culture becomes the standard of what is good and acceptable instead of God (Isaiah 45:9).  As the world leads people to worship themselves and not God. (see our article: "The World" According To God).  This then results in people gradually or quickly destroying their body and condemn their souls (1 Cor 3:17).

Being super fit and an extreme low body fat percentage sounds nice but their spirit could be dead because of it.  They could just be slaves to their sin of self-bodily-worship that keeps them from ever truly coming to God.  They live their life intensely focused on their body image under the self-justified "its a lifestyle" excuse.  They will fast for the purpose of improving their body image and not fast for edifying their spirit.  Their fitness becomes their identity.  Their end result for what they do is the improvement of their body image and not their faith.  They worship the results they strive to work hard for.

Freedom From Our Body Image

To be free from the social and cultural pleasures of having a certain body image you must understand the reason and purpose for your body to begin with.  Our bodies house our spirit (Gen 2:7) and our bodies were made for serving God and doing his will with them (Colossians 1:16).  Because our bodies house the spirit of God and are made for Him; they are called to be holy and are actually temples for the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:16).  Jesus actually paid for your body with his.  He bought your body so that you could be free to serve him in it.  Those who have faith in Jesus Christ do not own their bodies; they were purchased by Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 6:12-13). 

The Diet of God

After being bought by God; he gives us guidelines to maintain what is His (our bodies).  Do not over eat fating foods (Prov 23:20) but have a clean diet (Deut 14:3-21).  Do not drink strong drinks as it is bad for the body and soul (Isaiah 5:22; Proverbs 20:1);  Do not use your bodies as sexual objects for yourselves or others because it can lead to unhealthy things of the body, like diseases, and of the soul (1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3);  Even our minds and mouths are part of our bodies and can damage it and our soul as well (Proverbs 12:22; Colossians 4:6).  Do what it takes to keep a diet that is healthy for the property of God, His temple, your body (Proverbs 23:2).  God allows us to know what is healthy for our body and what is not.  Because of this we are accountable for what and how much we consume; for his glory.  We should desire to maintain a healthy diet; for his glory.
  1. Have a moderate portioned healthy diet
  2. Drink healthy fluids and a lot of water
  3. Live a guarded and healthy life in what you do, think, hear, and say that reduces the risks and influences from risky behavior and lifestyles.
Why seek these 3 things? Because it is for God's Glory and not yours.  This is not seeking self-perfection but solely focused on seeking God's glory in how you treat your body on a daily basis.

Vegetarianism and God:

God, himself, makes it clear that we are given plants and animals to eat (Gen 1:29, 9:3; Ex 12:8).  As one of Jesus' miracles, he made fish for everyone and even eats fish with the apostles (Luke 9:10-17, 24:41-43).  Lamb was part of the Jewish Passover meals (Ex 12:8).  God then makes it clear that our diet is free for the individual to decide as long as both glorify God through it (Romans 14:2-6).

The Gym of God

We workout our spirit over our body.  The world focuses on the perishable, as those who have been bought by Christ workout the imperishable.  We manipulate our body and exercise self control for our spirit to benefit (1 Cor 9:24-26).  Physical training has "some value" but "godliness is of value in every way".  Godliness will lead us to maintain a healthy life in our body and not vise-versa (1 Timothy 4:8; 3 John 1:2).  Even if and when we go to the gym, it is for God's glory in the hopes we can share the gospel one way or another or maintain God's temple.  Everything we do in our body is for God, not ourselves (1 Cor 10:31).  Being over-weight we know is unhealthy; therefore lose weight to live in a more healthy range.  Focusing on The Lord over our body image and diet will lead to a healthy body and life (Proverbs 3:1-2, 8).
  1. Workout to maintain a healthy weight range
  2. Lose weight when needed
  3. Gain weight if needed
  4. Exercise self control by maintaining a regular workout routine; for God's glory
  5. Use the gym as an opportunity to meet people and share the gospel.
The Priority of The Body:

Our reason for having a body is to use it for God's glory.  If our efforts to achieve a certain body image is hindering our time in prayer and studying God's Word than we need to fast from the gym.  Growing in knowledge and faith should be our priorities over the gym.  If our extreme dieting and intense workout routine draws all our attention and mental focus than that is a clear sign that we are growing in pride and self-worship. 

If we make prayer, bible study, fellowship, worship, and all the things that are focused on God the top priority in our lives, the healthiness of our body will follow.

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