Death

“Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.” Hebrews 12:12-13 (NET)

January has brought much death to our family circle.  Thus far, we have lost two people close to us and have two more in the hospital. January has highlighted the frailty and fragility of the human body and the truth that it will, one day, give out on us. In fact, each of the illnesses and deaths we have encountered have been, ultimately, the result of the body ceasing to function properly and giving out.

Which leaves me again to wonder why, as Christians, we don’t hear more about taking care of this amazing body God has gifted to us!? We hear a lot about stewarding our money and our time and our talents … but what about stewarding this gift of the body? If the impact we can have for our Lord in this dark world is limited by how long our bodies hold up, then why don’t we cherish it and care for it and treat it with love and respect?

In Hebrews (above), the writer was speaking in metaphorical terms.  He was encouraging us to keep moving, accepting the Lord’s discipline of us, and using it to make us better and stronger for Him.  But I believe that taking care of our physical bodies and strengthening our them can have both short- and long-term value for the kingdom. How?  In the short-term, it is an act of worship. It is stewarding and caring for one of the most amazing things He has entrusted to us.  In the long-term, it can improve and lengthen the time we have in this world to shine for Jesus.

Yes, our bodies are temporal. But goodness, so is our money, our time and our talents … & we steward those, don’t we? Your body is here for your entire journey, so strengthen the things that remain so that it may not be put out of joint, but rather healed and used by our Lord.

An Offering

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1 (NIV)

If you are anything like me, there are days when you really look forward to your workout … then there are other days you’d much rather be elsewhere, whether it’s tackling the pile of work or the list of to-do’s. But regardless of your mood, I’d challenge you to offer your workout time as an act of worship. Say to God: “Lord, here I am to worship and to meet with You. Here I am, ready, open, available to hear from You … to meet with You … to bring myself, my thoughts, my needs, my desires … and lay them at Your feet … or to be quiet and hear and receive from You. As I do my part to care for this amazing gift of body that You made and designed just for me, I trust in You to be the one who cares for the whole of me — to strengthen, restore and heal me. I offer this time to You. Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.”

It has been my experience that every time I offer my workout time to God, He is faithful to meet me … and the time spent becomes more than physical workout time. It strengthens my body, mind and soul. The sweat releases impurities from more than just my physical body, and I am stretched in my entire being.

As this new year begins, I urge you, brothers and sisters, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Offer your workouts to Him and for Him … and, regardless of your mood, He will meet with you. This is a spiritual act of worship.

(For related discussion, see also Posture of Prayer entry, 7/22/14; Exercise as Worship 2 entry, 5/9/14; and Exercise as Worship 1 entry, 4/11/14.)