The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “balance” (wholeness) in our faith and following of Jesus. If you’re not familiar with this series, you may want to review some of the foundational articles and videos on W.A.I.T. training and specific posts on “image”.
There are 24 such subjects on this website. You can use the search function to read the devotionals and related Scriptures, view training videos, and even watch contemporary Christian music videos on the same subjects. Simply place your smartphone or tablet on the reading deck of your favorite cardio equipment in the gym, or prop it up in a safe place as you and a friend exercise at home, or even project it onto a smart TV through wifi or bluetooth for larger groups.
I offer the applications below and others only as examples of how you might physically express spiritual principles. They are not magical formulas or guarantees. Neither are they substitutes for God’s call to gather with other believers for worship in a local church, to study His Word and pray privately, to fellowship with other Christians throughout the week, or to serve the hurting and lost.
In the metaphor of physical fitness, consider this series as a “supplement” for your spiritual health. I do believe, however, that these articles and related video which simultaneously feed our spiritual, physical, and relational health can be very practical. After all, the Lord created each of us as a body with a spirit for relationships. And remember, always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Suggested applications for meditation on “image”:
Most of us spend some time looking in the mirror – some with pride and some with fear. But God made us exactly the way He wants us: short or tall, big-boned or small-boned, wide hips or no hips, long neck or no neck. These things we can’t control, but others we can: our weight, muscle tone, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. Let’s look at ourselves, see what He wants us to see, be diligent stewards of what He’s given us, trust Him through the process, and praise Him through it all – whether we get exactly what we want or not.
It’s true that others look at us, too, and we mustn’t completely downplay this. For example, we might reconsider what we wear when we exercise if we are getting others’ attention with spandex or skimpy shorts and shirts. We can reserve any flexing and posing for our spouses in private. As a counselor, I can tell you that many inappropriate relationships have begun through physical attractions in the gym. God designed our bodies to be beautiful, and many guys are drawn to nice curves just as many gals are drawn to firm muscles. But our appeal should come from our spirits, not our bodies in skin-tight or skimpy clothing. I write this here because others may not be willing to tell us in the gym – it could seem like a “lose-lose” scenario. Why is that? There are two reasons: all of us should avoid the appearance of flirting, and others may be concerned about appearing jealousy or judgmental.
Paul calls women to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Peter 3:3-4). And, in my opinion, the same discretion should extend to men – especially in this age that emphasizes physical beauty. One only has to glance at popular magazine covers or prime time TV to see that today’s women are commenting on the physical appearance of men now more than ever before.
And even if a person manages to ‘catch’ a good-looking mate, what’ll happen in the relationship when the ‘hottie’ continues to live as they believe, spending lots of time, money, and effort on their looks? How will they feel about each other and themselves in 20 years when wrinkles appear & skin sags?
Physical appearance is such a poor investment. In this life, our bodies will eventually break down. Jesus is more concerned about our spirits right now. Let’s make the long-term investment in an image that will never fade with age.
When I was in college, a bodybuilder walked into our local gym, had his girlfriend oil him up in front of the mirror, turned off all the lights (except for the one over him) and posed for about 10 minutes. He was about 250 lbs of solid muscle, but most of us saw a different image: a self-absorbed man with a single focus on his body. Better than a mirror, our friends and close associates can tell us what image we really reflect. May they see Christ who transforms our lives – inside and out. If you really want to know how others see you, ask your friends how they would describe you to a stranger. Remember that God created us in His image and sent us forth to live in His image over the entire earth. So how we live and how others perceive us is important. Remember what Genesis 4-5 revealed about ‘image’? Cain’s genealogy was known for being rich, playing musical instruments, and forging bronze and iron instruments (Genesis 4:20-22), but Seth’s family line was known for calling on the name of the (Lord Genesis 4:26).
Let’s exercise our relationships in the gym, on our hikes, on the field, and in the food court in such a way that our image honors our Lord and brings joy to the Body of Christ – no matter what our physical accomplishments are – or are not
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