Exercising for the glory of God

Summer always seems to leave me more time for exercise. But recently I've been thinking as I walk on the treadmill or do some crunches, what's my motivation to do this?

We all know that exercising is right and healthy and good. We hear about it everywhere--from the back of cereal boxes to magazine ads. But what is our main motivation for exercise? Perhaps beauty. Or health. But how does exercising fit into glorifying God?

I recently read an excellent article answering this question on the Blazing Center blog written by Stephen Altrogge. Here's a preview:
Nowhere in the Bible will you find a scripture that says, “You must exercise three times a week (and make sure one of those days is a good cardio work out).” But we do read in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Every minute of our lives is to be lived for the glory of God, and exercise is a wonderful means of helping us live for the glory of God. How? By extending our years of service to God, and by making us more effective in serving the Lord.

(Continue reading here.)

Now that article explains what should be our motivation. But I know for me that does not always explain my motivation for running on a treadmill. More often than not, I exercise because I am unhappy with my appearance and I want to change it. Simply put, I want to be beautiful and mistakenly believe that exercise is the way there. But in the book Girl Talk, Carolyn Mahaney reminds us where true beauty lies:

God is not opposed to us making ourselves beautiful; rather, He unveils in this passage how women are to make themselves beautiful. First Peter 3:4-5 tells us to "let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves."

Now there is a whole lot more that could be said on this topic. But for today, I just wanted to remind myself and all of you that exercising shouldn't be a way for us to gratify our desires, but a means to better serve and glorify God. Beauty is not being thin. Beauty is trusting God.

-- from the archives


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