Honor God through Discipline

In First Corinthians 15:40-42 we learn that one day we will exchange this earthly corruptible body for an incorruptible heavenly body. For those of us who have made Jesus Lord of their life, this is a wonderful thing! So, do you think that means that as long as we have the right spiritual connection with God we can treat this earthly body like a throw away?

 

The Holy Scriptures reveal by taking care of our bodies we bring honor and glory to God. While it may sound harsh, when we choose to live carelessly with our bodies we are saying “God, I will not honor You with this part of my life.” And we do not get to pick and choose, taking care of the body includes the whole body; Our Spirit, Soul and body are a package.

 

First Thessalonians 5:23-24 from the Message speaks about the fitness of the whole body. “May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our master, Jesus Christ. The one who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!”

 

During the early part of my fitness career, back in the eighties when group fitness classes were booming, I was young and clueless about the ways of the Lord. I taught fitness in a way to bring honor and glory to my own strength and stamina. Every class students sang “look at me, see what I can do, and wow, don’t I look great!” This was the class anthem and there was always a full choir, with plenty of solo artists to help sing along. Yes, I helped women lose weight, get stronger, and get in shape, but my classes were missing the real purpose and motivation for fitness.

 

For many obvious health reasons, staying in shape is good for us. But because I did not have an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I was not teaching the ladies to discipline their bodies for God’s purposes. The students were motivated by my recognition of their own personal weight loss, increased energy, and the physical change in their body. The classes were packed with 50 to 100 students, and the atmosphere was polluted with self- glorification and high levels of narcissism.

 

But my discipline found real purpose the day God literally came knocking at my door. When I opened the door to my heart and said “Yes” to God, everything about me changed. When Jesus became Lord of my life, my entire life looked differently, including, how I would present Him to my fitness classes. All my fitness fundamentals remained the same, but in an instant, the Spirit of the Lord began to manifest within the classes. Little by little the message of Jesus and His love began to encompass the classes, and students used this special time to bring honor and glory to God.

 

The atmosphere of the class shifted from self-glorification to a fragrant aroma, as we began giving God the honor and glory. Our fitness classes became a worship and praise session to God as we disciplined our bodies in service to Him. The motivation for exercising took on a whole new meaning as we strengthened, and sharpened one another in all areas, so we could go out in the world and fulfill the purpose God has called each of us to do.

 

It takes discipline to get up each day and say to yourself, “its training day!” For me, it takes a disciplined mind to get up and go exercise when the body says “let’s take the day off!” It’s easy not to exercise; it’s easy to not be disciplined; it’s easy to eat whatever you want; it’s easy to stay up all night and sleep all day, which takes no real effort. God does not call us to take the easy way; He calls us to live to a higher level of accountability.

 

The Apostle Paul addressed disciplining our minds and actions in Romans 12:1-2. He told us not to copy the customs and behavior of the world. He reminded people it is not acceptable for them to do whatever they felt like doing. He encouraged them to turn their bodies over to God as living sacrifices, the kind God would find holy and acceptable. Paul also addressed the Soul which is our mind, will, emotions, passions, affections, and appetites of the body, when he said to let God transform them into a new person by changing the way they think. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 that our thoughts matter, that what we allow ourselves to think will be expressed in our words and actions. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

 

How we treat our bodies matters to God. Pretty hard to bring glory to God when we use our bodies like an overflowing trash can stuffed full of anything and everything the world can produce. In fact, rolling around in the garbage allows the enemy, Satan, to “steal, kill and destroy,” your life, your purpose, your health, and the energy to reach the world for Christ. When we ignore our bodies and live undisciplined, our health will suffer. Living with poor habits produces sickness, disease, depression, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, just to mention a few. The enemy loves it when you do drugs, drink too much alcohol, or engage in illicit sex, but he will happily take binge eating chips, ice cream, or chocolate, anything which demonstrates a lack of discipline or self- control to dishonor God, and vandalize His earthly vessels. Remember, saying no to temptation should be battled as a daily discipline, faithfully positioned on our ever strengthening relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

The Apostle Paul makes the comparison of the temple of God and our Bodies in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. First you eat to live, and then you live to eat? Well, it may be true that the body is a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body. God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body…There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works…”

Here is a question you should ask yourself, if my body is a rental property, have I trashed it or kept it clean?

Honor God by taking care of your body!

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