Faith and Fitness: Consistency is Key

Have you ever had that moment when it was difficult to see the impact of what you were doing as it was happening? Perhaps you were working tirelessly in your ministry, exploring every possible avenue for growth. At first, the growth didn’t come, and you figured your efforts were for naught. But then, all of a sudden, the seeds you planted started to sprout. Growth came, and it came in crashing waves. Your hard work paid off after all.

I remember being a new worship pastor at the church I used to call home. Going into the role, I was eager to hit the ground running and bring instant revival to the church. I found out quite quickly it doesn’t work like that. That vision that God put on my heart did indeed happen, but it took time.

Our world is one of instant gratification. We can get what we want when we want it. Modern conveniences have spoiled us, and it has eroded our patience. I find this to be true in my fitness journey as well.

I want to see results, and I want to see them now. When I try a new exercise plan or health supplement, I’m frustrated when I don’t see an instant change in my body. I know better. Real results take consistency and time. The same is true for our spiritual health.

When I run regularly, my cardio improves. I’m able to go longer and faster each subsequent run. I’ve ended up building up a level of stamina that it was hard to picture at first. Running started as a painful test of my will and transformed into a truly enjoyable, liberating experience.

Real results take consistency and time. The same is true for our spiritual health.

The same can be said of our spiritual disciplines. The more that we engage with our faith, the more we deepen it. Let’s take prayer, for instance. It may seem forced at first, and we may grasp for words, but the more we speak with and open our hearts to God, the easier it becomes. That’s when we see the actual results, and our relationship with the Lord blooms.

The act of reading the Bible is similar. Let’s face it: when we begin reading Scripture, it can be strange and confusing. Between the multitude of translations and the sheer amount of time that separates us from what was written, it can take us time to comprehend the Bible’s style and language. When we are consistent, though, we make great strides, and God reveals truth to us as we have never known before.

Recently, I’ve been noticing actual results in my life. My prayers have become more powerful. My Bible reading has become more consistent. I have been crushing my weight-loss and fitness goals. My marriage and family are growing more beautiful by the day. I credit all to God, who continually reminds me to stay focused on my path even when it’s hard to see results at the moment.

Whatever hurdle you face in your life, faith walk, or fitness journey, don’t give up. Stay consistent. Keep pressing forward, and you will be amazed by the things you can achieve!

If you’re interested in reading more about the relationship between faith and fitness, click here!

Faith and Fitness

1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (NIV)

Before I was a Christian, and even to a different degree today, I struggled with my self-identity. There was always this enormous gulf between how I evaluated myself at the moment and what I knew I could become. Living in this disconnect left me constantly feeling frustrated and confused.

What they say is true: perception is reality. The perception that I had of myself was flawed. I still struggle with it. We never ultimately arrive at our destination, but I always feel like I should be one step ahead of where I find myself at the moment. That disconnect enters my life again, bringing back those feelings of frustration and confusion.

I have always found that pursuing a greater fitness level has helped me deal with this. Being more in touch with my physical self allows me to bridge the gap between my perception of myself and what I truly am. The change I feel happens for many reasons.

Since my mid-twenties, I have struggled considerably with my weight. I go back and forth between being a relatively healthy weight and being far too overweight for my overall health. When I find myself carrying more weight than I should be, it’s challenging to do the everyday things that I need to do. I don’t feel like myself at all. More often than not, the past few years, this was my reality, and I’ve struggled considerably with it.

I found my most significant victory at the beginning of this year. Between January and May, I lost nearly 50 pounds. During that time, I celebrated my 32nd birthday, but I was feeling more like 22. I felt a rush of self-confidence that stemmed from my ability to thrive in my everyday tasks and feel good doing it. It helped me to focus on a healthier perception of myself.

Since then, I have struggled to maintain the success I had found. In my efforts, I have uncovered new inspiration to continue by seeking the answer to a simple question: what is the relationship between fitness and faith?

Through prayer, God reminded me of a beautiful illustration that helped lead me to an answer. The Jewish temple that once stood in Jerusalem held powerful symbolism in its very architecture. You see, the temple consisted of multiple courts. As you progressed further into the temple, you entered more holy ground. The most sacred space of all was the innermost room, called the Holy of Holies. They found it so hallowed that only one person (the High Priest) could enter the room only one day out of the year. That is because the Holy of Holies was the part of the temple where they believed God’s spirit resided.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul reminds us of a beautiful truth: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (NIV). Does this verse draw striking similarities in your mind regarding what we learned about the Holy of Holies?

Our bodies that God has blessed us with are vessels of the Holy Spirit. Since the time of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon all believers, God’s Spirit resides not in the Holy of Holies but rather within each person that has professed faith in Christ’s name! Through it, He empowers us to fulfill the calling He has placed in our life to do.

Would you neglect or abuse sacred space in the form of your local church’s sanctuary? Why then would we not care for our bodies, which God has deemed worthy of holding the Holy Spirit? The journey that led me to ask myself this question has reinvigorated my passion for pursuing the best fitness I can attain.

When I start to fall away from my goals, I will ask myself those questions anew. I encourage you to do the same. I know I could use an accountability partner if anyone is willing. I am also available if I can do the same for anyone else that reads this. Please message me at Zachary@JacobsLadderCCW.com, and we can help spur each other on to conquer our goals. In the coming weeks, I will reflect on this journey and how it relates to my faith.

Praise be to God, who freely gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit!