Healthy is in right now. Or so I’m told. Though we sometimes get stressed out about the “Super-sizing” of America, I also see a huge trend toward fitness. Gym memberships, fitness boot camps, and diets of every kind. Each new dietary choice is trendier than the last, and there are a host of ways to lose weight, stay healthy, decrease your body fat, and increase your muscle mass.
I don’t need to point out that fitness is great. God made our bodies, and we glorify him when we care for the gifts he gives us. Stewardship is an important biblical principle, and that includes our bodies. So healthy eating and consistent exercise have a good and proper place in the life of the Christian.
But healthy isn’t always healthy. As commendable as the fitness focus can be, it can also take on a darker dimension. There are some important things to consider in our pursuit of fitness:
Why do you want to be fit?
Are you trying to be a good steward of the body that God has given you? Or do you want more attention from the people around you? Do you think that having a better body will solve your problems?
Unfortunately, fitness is often a manifestation of idolatry. We worship ourselves, so we invest an unbelievable amount of time perfecting our looks. We worship other people, so we go to great lengths to be sure we get the attention from them that we crave.
Being healthy is important, but it must be pursued with the proper motivation.
What are you sacrificing to be fit?
Exercise and healthy eating are good things, but we have to be careful that they don’t become the only things. It’s good to work out. But keep in mind that every hour you spend in the gym is an hour you’re not spending somewhere else. If your fitness routines are eclipsing other important areas of stewardship that God has placed in your life, then you can bet you’ve wandered (jogged?) into the realm of idolatry.
How fit is fit enough?
If you find yourself eating healthy, working out, getting toned, and losing weight, and yet you’re still unhappy with your appearance, you need to ask yourself some questions. Are you being healthy for the sake of the God whose body you’re borrowing? (He made it and is graciously letting you use it, after all.) Are you being healthy so that you can be better for the family God has given you, the ministry opportunities he has entrusted to you, the vocation that he has called you into, the people he has placed in your care?
Or is this about your own body image? Because every mirror is a fun house mirror when it comes to body image. You’ll never see yourself accurately until your value is determined by the God who coded your DNA.
So be fit. Eat healthy. Work hard, dance, play, sprint, sweat. But be sure that your worth is being determined by the Creator who knew you before fitness was trendy, before your body image issues developed, before you were even born. Let your healthy habits be an extension of your love for God and for the people and world that he made. And with every diet and every workout question your heart to be sure it is set on him alone.