“You earn your body.”
“You have to work for the results you want.”
“You get out of it when you put into it.”
Those and countless other phrases bluntly, yet accurately, describe the ongoing journey to improved health and fitness. As Cher so eloquently stated, “Fitness – If it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.”
No one, save for comic book superheroes and the genetic, envy-inducing anomalies among us, was born with impeccable health and a flawless body to match. It takes hard work and discipline in the gym and kitchen to both attain and sustain a life permeated with wellness.
Wellness. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.”
Americans spend $40 BILLION a year on weight-loss programs and products. The health club industry is a $20 billion a year business. In 2011, this country spent $10.4 billion on cosmetic surgery, which is more than the gross domestic product of nations such as Chad and Liechtenstein. Wellness (and attractiveness!) certainly is “actively sought!”
Millions of people spend hard-earned money on weight-loss products, diet books, gym memberships, even elective surgeries to eliminate fat or implant muscles and…er, other things. We spend time pushing through tough workouts that elevate our heart rates and break down our muscles so they’ll grow back stronger and more powerful. We spend time being sore after killer leg workouts, involuntarily imitating penguins and cowboys with our funny waddles and slow strides. We spend time in uncomfortable stretches, atop fascia-loosening foam rollers and the tables of unforgiving massage therapists to help alleviate that soreness. And when things start to feel easy in a workout, we immediately amp up the intensity to evade the dreaded plateaus that halt our progress.
As I’ve been reflecting on Christ’s death and resurrection throughout this Easter week, I’ve been struck not only by the unfathomable depths of the love displayed in his sacrifice, but the immeasurable magnitude of his grace imparted through it:
“ … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”-Romans 3:23-24, NIV (emphasis mine)
The invitation to have our sins forgiven, our hearts made new, and our hollow, filthy bodies cleansed and filled with God’s Holy Spirit is freely sent (Eph. 2:8, 1st Cor. 6:19). There is nothing we need do to purchase or provide recompense for such treasures. The fact is, there is nothing we could do as thousands of years of diligent law-keeping and devoted sacrifice-making by the Jewish people proved (Gal. 3:21-22, NIV).
The Lord Almighty paid the ultimate price to save you and me when he sent his only Son, the Lamb of God, to perish on a long-prophesied Passover’s night over 2,000 years ago.
For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are promised a glorified body, like Jesus’ when he returned to earth for forty days after his resurrection.
“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” -1st Corinthians 15:44, ESV
With this body, Jesus moved like lightning, able to transport himself from Jerusalem to the two downcast travelers on the Road to Emmaus. And then as quickly as he appeared to them, he vanished from their sight (Luke 24:13-35). Jesus could also pass through material things, which he demonstrated by appearing in the midst of the disciples without opening the door. He also enjoyed food with his resurrected body, cooking and eating a breakfast of bread and fish on the beach with his disciples.
Today we abide in bodies that wrestle with weaknesses and infirmities that God never intended for us. As part of the curse, we toil to tend to them, to keep them healthy and strong, and, morbid as it sounds, to stave off the inevitability of death as best we can.
But one day…
One day we will be clothed immortal, arrayed in robes of radiant white, and the laws of gravity, the limits of time and space, the lust of our flesh, the lies of the enemy will be no more (Revelation 3:4-5, 18). All that cursed creation as a result of the Original Sin will be forgotten as the Holy One wipes every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:4). Heartache, depression, pain both physical and emotional, even vanity, will dissolve into the glorious light of his love.
I thank God for providing the Way back into his presence after paradise was lost. I thank him for his Son who stepped down from golden streets and angelic praise onto a spinning sphere of sin-cursed soil to save us from our sins. I thank him that one day we will know what true wellness really is. I thank him that we will be “just men made perfect,” having done nothing but accepting the gift of Yeshua –Salvation – to earn such wondrous perfection (Hebrews 12:23).
Stay fit, stay faithful, and have a blessed celebration of His Resurrection! ~<3 Di
 Paradise Lost is an epic poem written by John Milton in the 17th century. The poem concerns the biblical Fall of Man as recorded in the Book of Genesis.