I spoke last week at the wonderful Community Bible Church here in San Antonio on the subject of honoring God with our bodies. One concept I emphasized is that the living and active Word of God was given to live and act in all areas of our lives, from our marriages and money to our holiness and health. We can attend church every week, volunteer our time to serving the sick and needy, never utter a curse word or gossip about a single soul, but if we neglect to take care of our bodies, our temples of the Holy Spirit, we are not living the Christian life the Lord intends for us.
Romans 12:1 says we are to “give [our] bodies to God because of all he has done for [us]. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” (NLT). Notice that the Holy Spirit, speaking through the apostle Paul, tells us to give not just our spirits, not only our souls, but our bodies to God. First Corinthians 10:31 underscores this command with another like it:
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (NLT)
We see that God is indeed interested in how we treat our bodies. Keeping them strong through regular workouts (which wasn’t much of an issue 2,000 years ago like it is today!) and maintaining a healthy diet (there were fewer dietary pitfalls around the Mediterranean, and elsewhere around the globe, before GMOs and processed foods came along) are habits that please and glorify our Creator. When we choose laziness and excuses over discipline and obedience, we not only set ourselves up for obesity and an increased risk of various diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, but we move toward a Christian walk devoid of the strength, confidence, energy, and longevity that God wants for us.
I know that working out is often the last thing we want to think about some days. With myriad responsibilities at work, stress-inducing assignments at school, and an exhausting schedule with kids and countless other activities and chores, the word “exercise” can be tiring just to say. But, we all know that exercise, despite the negative emotions we may ascribe to it, actually increases our energy levels, boosts our moods, clears our heads, reduces stress, and gives us the strength, immunity, and flexibility necessary for life’s everyday tasks.
So, how do we find the motivation to work out on the days we feel like forgoing the gym (or track, trail, studio, etc.), kicking up our feet, and eating a box of Cheez-Its for dinner? I have found that the best source is the Holy Bible. In it, we are reminded that life isn’t about appearances or pleasing others, and that indolence and idleness are vices to be purged as we become sanctified, day by day. The Word exhorts us to do all things as unto the Lord, and to be hardworking and diligent laborers in His Kingdom.
Here are 10 verses that I believe will encourage and motivate you to get your workout in, especially on days when the couch is calling your name like a Siren’s song:
“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:23, NLT
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13, ESV
“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” – 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, NLT
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19, NLT
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31, NLT
“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.” – Proverbs 31:17, ESV
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees” – Hebrews 12:11-12, ESV
“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” – 1 John 4:4, NLT
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT
 Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).
 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (NIV)
 In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV)
 Colossians 3:23, NIV: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”; 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”