Help and strengthen
us to glorify You in all that we do, Father. This
request, or something like it, is lifted up to the Lord by countless
Christians every day. But how many of us take time to consider the
sweeping implications of the unassuming, three-letter word, all?
am a 24-year-old personal trainer who grew up hearing the Word,
praying with my parents and attending church since Day One. But
despite my Christian upbringing, it took me19 years to learn that
exalting Christ’s name and glorifying the Father isn’t simply
restricted to “holy” or “religious” activities such as
fasting or volunteering at a homeless shelter. Like Paul said to the
carnal Corinthians, we are called to glorify God whether we eat or
drink! (see 1 Cor.10:31).
Today, by God’s grace
and unending faithfulness, I am healthy, strong and free from
oppression and pride-saturated sin. A devastating breakup with my
first love at age 17 turned my world upside down. Instead of turning
to God for consolation and guidance, I sought to obtain a sense of
control through my “healthy” habits.
A year before the
breakup, I had been introduced to the gym. Through the help of a
personal trainer, I began to see and feel my body’s positive
response to a balanced regimen of resistance and cardiovascular
training and proper nutrition. I truly fell in love with fitness. But
with a broken heart, clouded and confused mind, and crushed spirit, I
suppose I thought my body was the only remaining part of me that I
could take charge of.
I began to work out
obsessively, often going to the gym twice a day. I meticulously
counted every calorie that entered my mouth and tried to avoid eating
out with friends altogether. When I ate very little at the dinner
table, I lied—telling my parents I’d already eaten at school or
with the tennis team.
It didn’t take long
for my weight to drop significantly from a healthy 120 pounds to a
frail 98. I looked in the mirror and smiled as a size 0 skirt hung
low on my hips. I counted it as an accomplishment the day I could see
the ribs beneath my tank tops in the summer.
When friends expressed
their heartfelt concern, I told myself they were jealous of my
slender figure. My pride in assuming I could
strengthen myself and bring myself joy had supplanted God’s grace.
I became increasingly isolated from those who loved me most and
increasingly defenseless against the enemy’s attacks.
spent a year in denial and insisting upon having countless medical
tests in an attempt to diagnose why I was chronically fatigued and
experiencing dizziness, heart palpitations and headaches, to name a
few. But I finally acknowledged, confessed and repented of my
pride—an unequivocal answer to my parents’ ceaseless prayers. It
was then that God’s healing work began to restore my mind, body and
that dark season of my life, the Holy Spirit has shown me that the
Bible has a great deal to say about how we are to treat these tents
of dust. One such Scripture is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Paul writes
that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we are not
our own; we are the Lord’s. “Therefore, glorify God in your body
and in your spirit, which are God’s” (v. 20). For nearly two
years, I had dishonored God by abusing the body He created, the
temple He bought at a tremendous price.
decision we make—including the one to lace up our tennis shoes and
head to the gym—either brings God glory, or it doesn’t. Our food
choices either glorify God, or they don’t. For example, if given
the choice between a bacon cheeseburger and a turkey sandwich on
wheat bread for lunch, which one would you choose to keep your temple
tidy, so to speak?
It goes without saying that the latter item is the
healthier choice. Granted, the occasional cheeseburger and slice of
pizza is absolutely fine, and entirely human! What I’m addressing
is a day-to-day lifestyle that either facilitates or thwarts our
believe the body of Christ should be among the healthiest people in
the world. After all, with the power of Christ living within us and
His Spirit spurring and strengthening us to run our race for Him, our
bodies can most certainly prosper just as our souls are! (see 3 John
the author of Miss
University: A Girl’s Guide to Fitness, Beauty, and Confidence,
as well as the upcoming book from Creation House Fit
for Faith: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Total Fitness.