You might expect this article to be focused on your physical health – after all, we are called Shape Up Church! But what I really want to talk about today is much simpler than that. It is the foundation of your life on which all other things (including your health and fitness) are built. I want to talk to you about the way you see.
How do you see?
In I Timothy 4:8, Paul challenges his young protégé, Timothy:
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
If you’ve had trouble sticking to routines or healthy eating habits, your focus may be off. Eating a healthy diet, establishing a good workout routine and getting plenty of rest may seem like healthy disciplines. We’re working on our bodies and improving ourselves. How can this be wrong?
It all comes back to the way we see.
God’s design for mankind is to have a relationship with Him. He wants to be intimate with you. He wants to direct your life, to speak to you and to have your attention throughout the day. The whole foundation of living the Spirit-filled life involves dying to self so that His plans can live through you. You can’t do that when you are constantly focused on your own agenda—even if it is a healthy agenda.
So how do you develop a healthy balance? How do you see correctly?
The Whole Being Approach
I Corinthians 6:19 asks us a sobering question:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.
When you wake up tomorrow morning, try a new thing. Learn to see yourself as God sees you. I want you to see His plans for you, knowing that His plans are for good. Instead of trying to focus on the commitment you have made to health and fitness, realize that your true commitment is to Him. The food you put into your body is just one small part of the big picture of your life.
A New Start for Every Day
Here is a great way to begin each day:
- Wake up and clear your mind. Before the tasks and responsibilities of the day crowd your thoughts, breathe deeply and practice a moment of mindfulness. Give your day to God—every bit of it. Say this out loud: “God, today is yours. Show me Your plan and let me be mindful of every moment and opportunity.”
- If you’ve done this, then you are ready. Now you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Your focus is on God and His plans for you—not your own.
- It’s going to take some practice to remain in this state of connectedness to God. At first it may be a minute-by-minute decision. Whenever you feel your mind wandering off on its own agenda, reel it back in. Remain in a state of rest and mental awareness of who you are in Christ and agree that you are here for His purposes.
Does this really work?
You may be thinking, “That sounds nice, Jeff, but this isn’t practical. How does this help me to fulfill my responsibilities and achieve my goals?”
Think about it. If you’ve already agreed to give your day, your thoughts, your agenda and your routine over to God, then what do you think will happen when it’s time to choose your breakfast food? Isaiah 30:21 assures us:
You will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way, walk in it.
You won’t have to struggle through your day TRYING to make the right choices and STRIVING to stick to a routine. When you release your day to the care of God, agreeing to do His will and not your own, then He will converse with you! You will have a partner—the Holy Spirit—who will stick beside you! When you’re in step with the Spirit, smaller issues like getting to your next workout or choosing a healthy snack will practically happen on autopilot.
These things are not the main focus; your ministry to God, family and others is first. But when you see correctly, your vision is enlarged, and the small things remain small. God takes care of them! It becomes a beautiful way of life, and this is my prayer for each of you.
Join the discussion on Facebook: what is one way you’d like to change the way you see yourself or your situation?