Did you know that exercise can be an act of worship? When you begin to look at exercise in that light, it will bless both your body and your soul like never before.
For some people, choosing regular exercise is not a problem, it comes naturally and they actually enjoy it. But for many, making exercise part of their ongoing, long-term lifestyle is a real challenge. More often than not, I hear from women that exercise is something they dread. I’d like to share some thoughts that may just change the way you look at your next workout.
I’m one of those that find enjoyment in exercise (I know, I know, don’t stop reading.) Regular exercise and group fitness instruction have been part of my life for the past decade. However, over the past two years, the Lord has really caused my heart and intentions toward exercise to change. Exercise used to be all about my body. It was totally motivated by physical results. I was guilty of “compartmentalizing” that area of my life. I’d forgotten that the Lord desires to be the focus of everything in my life, including exercise. My entire life can be an act of worship if I’ll allow the Lord to be a part of it!
Perhaps more than any other verse, the Lord has used Romans 12:2 to completely change my thoughts about food and exercise. I love the amplified version that says, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for YOU].”
The world has taught us that exercise is something we “should” do and generally focuses solely on our body. Really, exercise is something we GET to do and can be all about our spirit! Our experience changes completely when we renew our minds with a new attitude, and shift our thoughts about exercise! Remind yourself what a gift it is that your body is able to move like that! Thank God that your feet and legs, and arms are strong and functional. That you are blessed to live in a part of the world that makes moving easy and accessible! If you exercise at a gym, thank God that He’s providing the financial means to enjoy a place where you can improve your health and help your body to be its best. Enjoy the ability to breathe deeply. Thank Him for the endorphins that exercise provides to help elevate your mood!
Then, worship!!! I ONLY listen to worship music during my workouts and just sing and praise Him, and pray. I ask Him to speak truth and revelation to me during that time, and PRAISE Him for time set apart for that! When you know that you’re going into a time of praise and worship, you will actually find that you look forward to your workout times because you know that you will walk away from it with a fuller spirit and a healthier body!!!
Finally, seek Gods direction for the best form of exercise for you. Trust Him to lead you into His perfect will, what is good and acceptable in His sight for YOU and your body. I recommend doing away with fitness magazines and to view fitness blogs with caution. The Word tells us that, “[God] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order.” Seeking trustworthy guidance on how to safely exercise is one thing, but I find that if I spend too much time reading about other people’s workouts and getting too much input from the world, my mind becomes overwhelmed and confused by all the opinions of people. In those moments, I call on Proverbs 3:5, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and MIND and do not rely on your own [or other people’s] insight or understanding.” I become purposeful to return my thoughts to the Lord and seek His direction and peace even in my workouts.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you that we are perfectly made by your mighty hands. We praise you that you know everything about us, right down to the ideal form of exercise for our own bodies. Help us Lord to surrender this area of our lives to you now. Help us to commit that time to praise and worship and to celebrate the body we are moving in right now, at this moment, not the body we wish we had, and not what the world tells us is good and acceptable. Lord, renew our attitudes so that we may give YOU glory in all we do including how and why we move the precious gift of the body you gave us! In Jesus name, amen!