Today I’m sharing a bit of borrowed wisdom from Prayfit founder, Jimmy Pena. Do we desire to be as fit as necessary to do what God has called us to do or to be as fit as possible?
It almost feels like cheating, borrowing another post from Jimmy Pena, over at PrayFit. However, the silliness of attempting to re-express something so well-written to begin with, has overridden my embarrassment.
I’ve included the full text here, but I highly recommend that you visit their website for numerous other excellent devotionals and fitness information.
Read: James 1
You’ve likely seen someone boast that health is “Always earned, never given.” Sounds reasonable, right? You put in the work, you get the reward. Soundsreasonable, but it’s not true. Health is not earned. Granted, some people appropriately celebrate their health (and hopefully more and more of us each day), but even the byproducts of that discipline — toned muscle, greater endurance, increased strength — gift…gift…gift. Oh we don’t like to admit it. We like to think we’ve earned the right to raise that banner and boast, “I EARNED THIS!” But in truth, it’s when we realize we have undeserved and unearned health that we can make the greatest impact with it.
You might also consider the flip-side. There are those among us who are statistically apparently healthy, but who choose a sedentary lifestyle over an active one. Those who opt for poor food choices over balanced, sensible meals. Despite great genetics, honorable stewardship is the furthest thing from their minds. If you’re like me, you may have people close to you who have absolutely no health issues, but have no issue with abusing it; alive but not living. Healthy vital signs? Sure. Earned? No. A gift. Unopened, but a gift nonetheless.
Whether they’re opened or still neatly wrapped, the bible says that every single gift comes from above and that includes the body. So just remember, as you wake up with grace and mercy, check and see if your limbs work and if your heart’s beating. If all systems are go, then celebrate! Treat life like a Christmas morning kind of present. Open it up! It’s when you see what’s inside that you can really see what’s inside you! And you can’t give God the glory and claim it at the same time. Christians have to choose. So choose to walk, train, run, swim, strive, push, claw, climb, and reach with every single, grateful, thankful, humble, undeserved, unearned gift of health you got.
Sometimes someone says something that you couldn’t say better yourself. Such is the case today. This article was written by Jimmy Pena, at PrayFit. I’m an avid reader of Jimmy’s blog and I subscriber to his teachings on fitness. I hope you enjoy this post:
“We live by faith, not by sight.”–2 Corinthians 5:7
I know we typically end our study with a question, but today we’re starting with one. I’m wondering: Would you forfeit your health for the Lord? More specifically, would you give up your fitness lifestyle if God asked you to? Maybe you’re a runner. An avid runner. Your calendar is marked — not with holidays and birthdays — but with 10Ks. Or perhaps you’re a fitness junkie. You lift, you sprint, you jump rope, you sweat and you repeat it…six days a week. What if God asked you to give it all up? And no, He doesn’t give you His reasoning, because He doesn’t need to explain Himself to you. All you know is that the one passion you have in life — that one thing that fulfills you and makes you you — He wants you to relinquish. No more gym. No more road. How would you feel? Sad, confused, both? What would you do?
Well, before you say, “Jimmy, I doubt God would ever ask me to give up something like that,” let’s visit a couple guys who would beg to differ…
When Abraham got to the top of Mt. Moriah, he was confused and saddened. “Daddy, where’s the lamb?” asked Isaac. But Abraham took the son he loved more than life itself, set him on the altar and raised his knife.
When the rich young ruler approached the Lord and asked Him what he needed to do to have eternal life, Jesus said to sell all his possessions, give to the poor and then follow Him. But the bible says the rich man walked away sad because he was rich.
Two men, both asked to sacrifice the love of their life. One was sad but obedient, the other was sad because he couldn’t be. The difference? Faith. Faith saved Isaac and spawned generations that outnumber the stars. Faith loved. Faith sensed guidance. Faith followed. Faith swallowed fear. Faith didn’t walk away sad.
Now, Lord only knows what He’s calling you to do (or not do) when it comes to His purpose for your life, but is there anything you need to sacrifice in order to be closer to Him? Since He’s likely not asking you to give up your pursuit of fitness, could it mean you need to carve out time alone with Him? If He’s asking for time with you, do you walk away sad because you’re so “fit”? Or on the flip side, if you’re not honoring your health like God desires, perhaps stewardship is your sacrifice. Maybe the hill of discipline is your Mount Moriah. What is God asking you to do?
Read this article at its original location, here. Also, I encourage you to take time to read many of Jimmy’s other devotionals.
One of the biggest obstacles of my growing faith, is an idolatrous worship of exercise. Praise the Lord, that the Holy Spirit consistently, frequently and aggressively, convicts me of this tendency and turns my heart toward Him once again. One of the tools He has used to do this is a book called Pray Fit. I was in Kansas, and a girl-friend and I had miss-communitcated about what time we planned to get together over coffee. Being car-less and on the opposite side of town from my parents’ house, I meandered across the street to the local Christian Bookstore.
Bored, cold and feeling sorry for myself, (not to mention feeling cheap since it was just after the Christmas spending season) I found myself in the clearance isle. I gravitate toward all things “fitness,” “skinny,” and “health.” It’s not usually a good thing, but in this case, God worked my sinful bent for His glory. I picked up Jimmy Pena’s book, “Pray Fit,” from the bottom shelf.
I was instantly captured by his thorough and aggressive devotionals. There was no pansy-footing around the God-talk in favor of diet tips and weight loss jargon. Pena is unashamedly about Jesus. Not to let the diet-starved reader down, at the end of each chapter, Pena includes a progressive, bodyweight workout. I had to have the book. I know that health and exercise is a good thing, but in our culture, frequently perverted into the only thing. I have been searching long for the way to balance my love for fitness with the truth that Jesus is my life.
I have been reading the book slowly, digesting each devo and trying some of the workouts. I joined Pena’s website, Prayfit.com. That is what finally, leads me to my point today (:
A recent entry on Prayfit.com, asks “which Bible character do you identify with?” Since this week we are focusing on Moses, I began to think about him. Do you identify with Moses in any way? Most of this week, we are focusing on Moses’s strengths; the contrast between his growth in holiness and the disobedient Israelites. But Pena points out Moses’s insecurity. I hadn’t thought of that.
I am an insecure person. Most of my life, I have promised God that I would offer myself fully to Him as soon as I got my life straightened out.
As soon as I get over this eating disorder thing, God. Then, I won’t be such an embarrassment to you. Then I can share my testimony and you’ll be proud of me.
As soon as my marriage is a better reflection of Christ and the church, then God, I’ll tell others about the miracles you have worked in our lives.
As soon as I resolve the conflict with my sister, then I’ll tell everyone about your overriding peace.
As soon as I get over this sadness, this loneliness, then I’ll take the mask off and admit my past to others so that they can see and be astonished at the change in me.
Does that sound familiar? As I wrote on Monday, I don’t think Moses held anything back as he scribbled down his complaints, joys, daily duties and God-moments. Obviously, it can’t be denied that God has used all Moses’s miserable, insecure moments just as effectively as all of his successes. Consider.