“Workouts in the gym are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever” (MSG)
Gyms are full this time of year. People are active. Why? It's the season of goals and resolutions, and many of us equate success with what we see in the mirror. Healthy, fit bodies are certainly desirable to do the work of God in whatever we do, but the mirror can be deceiving.
Even if our approach to goal-setting is rooted in eternal motives, what are the methods we use to achieve our goals? Cutting things out, subtracting poor behaviors, or ending relationships seem to be the methods many of us attempt. Is this the best way? Will this bring lasting freedom from these poor habits? Why will so many of us dump our goals before we make significant progress this year? It may not be the motive. It might be the method.
Jesus said an evil spirit may leave a person, but it will attempt to return. If the spirit finds its former home “empty, swept, and in order, then the spirit will find seven other spirits more evil than itself…and the person is worse off than before.” (Matthew 12:43-45) Simply removing a poor habit does not solve the problem. There is a reason why the habit was there in the first place. This is why so many successfully quit smoking but replace this poor habit with overeating. The main problem has not been solved. The hole has not been filled.
Instead of simply quitting dead habits, Christ offers new life. Physical training without eternal purpose focuses on that which is destined for death. But, when our training is a reaction to what Christ has done on the cross, we have found a motivation that will never die. If you want to see real change – look at Christ, not the mirror.
“Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to.” (1 Timothy 6:11-12 – MSG)
1 – Why do you train?
2 – Do you love what you see in the mirror? If not, why not?
3 – How can your physical fitness contribute to God's work in this world?
4 – Why can a focus on Christ, rather than our bad habits, produce a more permanent commitment to fitness?