I have agonized over whether or not to post certain things on our Every Square Inch Fitness Facebook and/or Instagram. Do I share a picture of my pre-workout drink next to my Bible? Do I share that Jeff is lifting x amount of weight or myself, bouncing around, streaming a fitness program alongside my kiddos? I mean, these things are happening in our household on a daily basis, but, is Jesus calling me to post them? I think, in asking these questions, I have come back to the one question that really matters. What is our chief end? As John Piper says, “The Chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” What is Every Square Inch Fitness’s chief end? Our heart’s desire is for others to be overwhelmed by the beauty and gospel of Jesus Christ, whose power sets us free from sin and darkness, and liberates us to enjoy Him in every square inch of our lives, and specifically, in health and fitness.
We are all called to be faithful stewards of our bodies. And, in God’s infinite wisdom and goodness, He has given each of us a different one. And even these bodies that we have right now, here at this moment, are ever-changing, and certainly not the bodies we had last year, nor the year before. Physically, we can only be, “better than we were yesterday” for a season of life, after which, we will slowly decline in the opposite direction. And, in addition to the fact that our bodies are constantly changing, we all have been given different challenges within our bodies, some more than others. Whether we have been born with them, or from injuries past, or from simply getting older. Regardless of where we stand on the spectrum of age and measurable health, we all have been entrusted with a body that is uniquely ours, perfectly and wonderfully designed by our Creator. Our bodies are not ours; they are Christ’s and they are for His glory. And we glorify Him by enjoying Him. Whether we eat or drink we are to do it all for the glory of His precious, Redeeming Name. So, whether we eat in poverty, we lift up what we have been given in thanks. Whether we feast, we lift up the food we have been given in thanks. And the same goes for exercise. I am a daily witness to watching someone who has been gifted by God to lift well and lift heavy. And he, my husband, joyfully does so well, for God’s glory. I also, as are many of you, am a quiet observer of Joni Eareckson Tada, who continues to faithfully and beautifully use her body for the glory of God and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom…and she cannot move a muscle from the shoulders down.
So, we ask, what have we been given? Can we walk? Let us do so for the glory of God, enjoying Him and exalting Him in our efforts to worship Him with our bodies. Can we lift our eyelids? Can we lift weights? Regardless of what we have been given, we are called to exert our hearts, our minds, our physical strength, to the extent that He has enabled us, to worship and enjoy Him, to maximize our pursuit of him by caring for the bodies He’s given us.
I long to be faithful with what God has given me. And what often keeps me from being faithful to my calling is coveting what others have. Being faithful with what God has given us begins with an overwhelming fixation of our hearts with the gospel. And out of the gospel, flows overwhelming joy to serve and enjoy our great Savior, and sharing this with others. What faithfulness looks like for each person in health and fitness will vary. While we all will have different specific goals in health and nutrition, our main overarching goal is the same. We are pursuing our greatest joy in God, even down to the specifics of our exercise and nutrition. When I share some of my specifics, it is simply showing my desperate fight to battle for joy in areas of my life where a cougar once prowled and whose presence still lurks in the shadows. When I share my specifics, I am sharing how I am killing sin. And we kill sin by pursuing a greater joy, a joy that is not wrapped up in appearances, but a joy that is everlasting and fully satisfying.
Our individual pursuits of health and fitness will not always look like someone beaming with joy, working out to worship music, wearing the latest style in fitness fashion. Maybe it will look like that at times. But, for me, at least, it often looks like stepping forward in faith into a workout, entrusting to Jesus my heart and my health. It is a part of my routine to read my devotions prior to lifting or running. And I have learned over and over and over again, that my pursuit of God has not ended when I lay my Bible down and pick up the weights or lace up my shoes. My pursuit of God has only just begun, and picking up a barbell is a part of my pursuit of enjoying God.
One thing will always be the same, regardless of our level of fitness, which ebbs and flows, rises and then, eventually sets, till one day we find ourselves on our death bed, struggling to even take a single breath. Whether we are the Olympian on the podium or struggling to draw our final breath, Christ stands as our only hope. And we do not need any level of fitness to qualify us for His forgiveness and mercy and grace. All we need is desperate hope for, and faith in, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. A faith in the Faithful One, towards whom we will find ourselves, one day running into His arms, with a speed that no Olympian athlete has ever known. It is for this One we have been designed. It is for one purpose we have been created. To glorify God in our bodies, to enjoy Him, to taste Him by every and any means possible, to increase our joy in Him. Whether it is running a race, lifting something heavy, doing physical therapy for an injury, simply blinking our eyes, or drawing our last breath, it is all for His glory and our joy.