This is the final post in a series of six articles on how fitness benefits many other areas of your life. So far, we’ve discussed how a challenging fitness regimen can improve your productivity, disposition, relationships, finances, and your appreciation of the glory of God. Today, we’ll discuss how success in your fitness can be a powerful physical display of positive changes in your heart and life.
This topic is right at the heart of what we are all about here at TotalThriver. Oftentimes in life, we can overlook the strong connections between the various components of our lives. We think that we can be sloppy with our money, without having that sloppiness affect our relationship with our spouse. Or we think we can neglect prayer and the study of God’s word, yet still succeed in our career and find contentment.
Not only does this compartmentalized approach fail in practice, but it goes against the clear teachings of Scripture. In Matthew 12, Jesus said:
“33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
Here, Jesus is confronting the self-righteous Pharisees for their pride, arrogance, and wrong judgement. They rebuked Jesus for healing a possessed man, using the illogical argument that Jesus obtained the power to rebuke demons by serving the prince of demons. Jesus clearly taught us here that the evil words that proceeded out of the mouths of the Pharisees were only a symptom of their problem. The root of the problem was the hearts of these men, which were hardened against God. They cared only for themselves and the praise of men, and their words revealed their character.
This truth applies to you and me just as it did the Pharisees. Our words and actions in a certain situation are nothing more than a natural demonstration of the state of our hearts. So, our unorganized finances are rooted in a heart of poor stewardship, for example. Can this heart of poor stewardship with money do anything but be a poor steward of time with a spouse? Our words and actions are indications of who we are, and when we let failure reign in one area of life, it tends to manifest itself in other areas as well.
Thankfully, as Jesus goes on to explain in Matthew 12, this principle works in the reverse, too:
35“The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.
By His grace, God allows any of us sinners who will forsake our sin and trust Christ for salvation to be washed clean by his blood. Christ paid the penalty of our sins through his death on the cross, and by trusting Him we are made into a new creation. Day by day, Christ leads us to walk like Him, becoming more like our Savior each day.
This goodness spreads to each facet of life–as your heart is made new, your actions change to demonstrate the change that occurred in your heart.
The beauty of the process of adopting and following through with a challenging fitness regimen is that it is a powerful and dramatic example of new life. Before you began making fitness a priority, you lived with all the negative consequences that come with physical apathy. But once you turned from your old way and started down the road to fitness, your heart had changed. Your new behaviors began to reflect the new heart that you have–one recognizes the value of using the body as it was made to be used.
As you progressed through the weeks of training, you experienced the benefits of challenging exercise–improved disposition, productivity, and appreciation for the glory of God. These benefits encouraged you to commit to the program even more, and your habits gradually strengthened until fitness is a natural part of your life.
The physical transformation and the adoption of a new set of habits is a living metaphor of the life-changing power that Christ offers. Just as your fitness journey began with a change of heart, becoming a Christian begins by admitting that the self-centered road we’re on is the wrong path. Will you turn from your sin and trust Him today? His love is eternal, and although your fitness habits may fade someday in the future, Jesus will never let one of his children fall away.