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“The Physically Fit Christian”

Christians should form the healthiest people group in the world.

Why? Because God instructs us, in His Word, that our bodies do not belong to us, but to Him. We are soldiers in His army. Like good soldiers, we should keep our bodies in top physical condition. This is not only so we can please our Leader through obedience, but so we can properly preform the tasks which He assigns us.

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There are many reasons why people exercise, diet, or try to eat healthy. Most revolve around self. It is human nature I guess, but we all have that inner desire to “look good”. We want to be noticed. We want to be admired. We want to make others jealous . . . You get the picture.

Sadly, most Christians don’t get fit for the most important reason: Jesus Christ.

I believe, that it is due to this “self” focus that many fall into the “yo-yo pattern” of living. (For those of you who are not familiar with that term, it is where you go back and forth between eating healthy and exercising regularly and eating junk food and being stagnant).

As my Dad says, being healthy is a way of life. It requires a lifestyle change. Lots of little decisions on a daily basis will add up to big results on a permanent basis.

God tells us that our bodies represent His Holy Temple. He wants us to take care of the body He has given us by keeping it in the best possible condition. It is for this reason we should eat healthy and exercise regularly. Unlike the world, we have a reason for fitness, the best reason. The Bible has many verses that back this theory: 1 Cor. 10:31, 1 Cor. 6:19, Phil. 4:13, and Phil. 3:13-14 . . . to name a few.

And yet, as I look around at Christians today, I see obesity everywhere. I hear news of friends and acquaintances who have suffered from heart attacks, cancer, organ failure, and all sorts of health problems- many of which stem from an unhealthy lifestyle. If we truly got our heads wrapped around the idea that we need to keep our bodies strong and healthy for God, maybe more Christians would get off the couch.

I don’t say that to discourage anyone. And I certainly don’t wish to hurt any ones feelings. Being physically fit is hard. I know. After being in two car accidents and being diagnosed with a couple of other genetic problems, I have found it extra hard to push past the pain, roll out of bed, exercise, and force myself to eat. If you are in a similar situation, I feel for you. But, should pain, physical limitations, or other health issues prevent us from trying to get fit? No.

We can all do something. And anything is better than nothing.

Confession: Some days, all I can do are light stretches. Other days, I’m out walking miles, or doing pushups and crunches. If you have health problems like me, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist. They can help you know how to get started.

 “You will never know your limits unless you push yourself to them.”

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Remember: We are to “get fit” for God, not ourselves. How far will you go to please Him? Are you willing to inconvenience yourself by waking up an hour earlier in order to squeeze in a jog before work or will you discipline yourself enough to swap fried foods for fruits and vegetables?

Another way to look at fitness- for all my military friends out there- is to remember that a soldier follows orders. He or she may hate the assigned task, but they learn to obey without question. God, as our Leader, has given us orders. We may not like the process of getting fit, but we should still obey the order. Living a disciplined life is truly the life of a soldier. As Christians, we are soldiers.

So, what has all this to do with photography?

Photos can inspire, motivate, and inform. In this way, photography can help us maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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You’ve probably seen “before and after” photos featured in books and magazines, well, that’s because photos serve as inspiration. Hundreds of people have been influenced by pictures of athletes, body builders, and health “fanatics”, and have gone on to join the “health crowd”. {I have Bethany Hamilton and Tim Tebow as “friends” on facebook. I also enjoy “following” various American gymnasts. Seeing their photos and reading their inspirational stories of fitness and faith, help inspire me to stay fit.}

Many individuals find posting a picture of themselves- perhaps on a fridge of food cabinet-serves as a visual reminder of their personal fitness goals. Taking a picture of oneself every six months, for example, can serve as continued motivation. (It helps to document progress). These pictures don’t have to go public. They can be a private thing between you and God. Others find the “public” approach a way of holding oneself accountable.

Sometimes, I take “fitness” photos just for the fun of it. Looking through old workout pictures can be really fun and bring back lots of memories. Photos can also be tucked into fitness journals for documentation.

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Taking a workout photo and posting a motivational quote as an overlay, can also serve as motivation. Pinterest is a great place to start your search if you are interested in this idea.

Images inform us. They provide visual examples of what foods to eat, what exercises to perform, and what workout equipment is available. Photos often come in “series” or “step-by-step” patterns to illustrate how to perform desired tasks. Another time photos can come in handy, is when you don’t have a mirror available. You can set the timer on your camera or have a friend photograph you performing a stretch or exercise. The image can help you note whether or not you are using proper form.

So, photos can inspire, motivate, and inform us! Photography can therefore be a tool to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle- one that is pleasing to the Lord!

Hope this article has served to encourage you to make a lifestyle change.

Now that I am finished writing about physical fitness, I think it’s time for me to get off my computer and go do some pushups!

 

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