2014 has been a year where I have made some serious commitments to my health and fitness. These commitments are not just about fitting into a suit for a special event or training to run a marathon. These commitments are about life and an ongoing lifestyle. Many have asked me “What diet are you following?” Others have simply asked point blank “What are you doing?” Some have asked “Are you sick?” In answering the last question I will routinely say “No, but I got sick of the way I was headed.” Our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19) and I was treating mine like an amusement park.
In 1 Timothy 4:7-8 the apostle links fitness and godliness.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
I recognize that Paul is elevating godliness over fitness (as he should). But one thing I have been finding out is that a commitment to fitness and a commitment to growing in godliness have multiple similarities. Success in the gym and success in your Christian walk of growing in godliness are about commitment to the basics: Diet, exercise, rest, and routine.
Here are five principles that help me in both my walk with the Lord and in fitness training: (two this week and three in my next installment)
- Our commitment needs to be for the long term – Most people work out with a short-term goal in mind. Loose 20 pounds. Get into that suit for the wedding. Bench-press 200 pounds. Our goal needs to be to regain health for the rest of your life. In our Christian life we often have very short-term goals. Get through that bible reading plan. Finish that Beth Moore study. Our goal needs to be elevated. I think Psalm 27:4 captures this lofty goal. The psalmist’s goal is anything but short term:
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
2. You need a schedule – You will never train consistently when you are always wondering when you are going to train next. They are always wondering …
“Will I be motivated to workout when I get home from work?
“Will I have enough free time to exercise today?”
“Will I have enough willpower to wake up early and run?”
In other words, most people train when they feel motivated or inspired.Here’s a better idea: Stop treating exercise as something to do when it’s convenient and start setting a schedule for yourself to follow. For example, I train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:30 or 6:00 a.m. I cannot wait around until I am motivated. I schedule it monthly. It is amazing how much I look forward to it.
Don’t wait to be inspired or motivated to start a schedule for daily time with God. In Psalm 88 the psalmist states, “In the morning my prayers come before you.” In the 119th Psalm we read of “remembering your name at night.” I am a morning person. Some of you have difficulty getting blanket victory. The point is simple. Find a quiet time and a quiet place. Schedule it into your day. Make it the focal point when you meet with the Lord in prayer and the Word.
Get started … and See you Sunday