Although the Bible clearly teaches our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), our bodies were made by God (Psalm 139:13-14), and our bodies were made for God (Romans 12:1), not all recognize taking care of our bodies as a spiritual discipline.

Honestly, when I look at what the world has turned fitness into, I can’t blame those who don’t see the connection. Based on advertising alone, the fitness industry seems largely to promote the shallow benefits of exercise – looks, prolonged youth and selfish gain.

But we must remember – most everything the world has to offer us is a cheapened version of what God has already given us. Our health is no different.

Ultimately, our health boils down to a heart issue. Proverbs 4:23 teaches us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

If our goals for being healthy are wrapped up in being a certain size or looking a certain way, that selfish motivation is likely not to stop when we leave the gym. It’s going to start seeping into other areas of our lives, probably without us even realizing it. We may end up physically fit, but we could also cause ourselves to become spiritually handicapped.

Knowing the truths I stated earlier — that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and that we were created by God & for God — we must lean on Him instead to shape our heart’s thoughts & actions toward fitness.

Lately, here’s the verse that’s been inspiring me in my health journey:

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

Action. More than a just an emotion, love is an action. Actions require effort. Effort requires energy…and energy is a physical property. It’s all related.

So is someone with physical handicaps unable to be used by God? Absolutely not. God is not bound by our circumstances. The difference is simply one question:

Who has placed the limit?

Was there an accident or some handicap we were born with that caused the physical limitation? If so, God was still working for His good, and that’s simply part of His plan (Romans 8:28).

But if we have just not physically cared for the body God entrusted to us, God didn’t place that limit. We have limited ourselves in the ways we can serve Him.

Let’s think of it in terms of our financial budget. If we don’t have money to tithe, but we had money to spend on Starbucks…the problem wasn’t a limited amount of money. The problem was how we chose to spend it.

I love these words of Rick Warren concerning our bodies, “God made it. Jesus died for it. The Holy Spirit lives in it. I better take care of it.”

I challenge you to whisper this prayer before your next workout:

“God, use this workout to make my body physically capable of whatever task You need me to accomplish. More than calorie-burning, fat-blasting or cellulite-shedding, let it be an action that shows my heart’s willingness & openness to serve You whenever & wherever You need me.”

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