Consider this: Why do we diet and exercise?
I remember asking myself this very question. I watched internet fitness gurus and sought the counsel of family and friends. They all gave me the obvious answer: The main reason that people diet and exercise is for the purposes of health and longevity. Of course, health and longevity are the correct answers; unfortunately, they are not always the most truthful answers.
I believe there is a hidden purpose behind the highly esteemed diet and exercise regimens. We say aloud that we want to be healthy, but in the secret parts of our heart, another voice is heard. Do we really want to be healthy? Or do we just want to look good? We say we want to be strong, but what we really want is to look strong. We act like we are trying to fix the inside, but we are mainly trying to accentuate the outside!
The real question being: “Why do we lie about our true diet and exercise agenda?”
Perhaps the reason we mask our response with the right answers is because we know deep down, that the real reasons we diet and exercise are the wrong reasons. It might make us sound immature if we said what we really wanted out loud! As I type this, I am reminded of how I was deceived by a hidden agenda.
For years I crushed my workouts and deprived my taste buds in the name of being healthy, but at the end of the day I found myself sore, weak, deprived and depressed. I was okay with that though. Truthfully, I was willing to sacrifice my health, just to look a bit better in the mirror! The reality is that I may have “looked” healthy on the outside, but my insides were not a picture of health. I’m not just talking about the cells of my body, but all three facets of my true self. My body, my mind and my spirit were suffering!
God doesn’t share His Supreme status with the likes of ruined sinners like me, and yet, I was trying to chisel myself into the fashion of a “god”.
Here is how I was deceived.
By nature, we are a proud bunch of humans. It would seem that our modern day culture has further enabled our self exaltation. Just look at the age we live in! We have Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and many other outlets for one to be the star of their own reality. There isn’t a person alive that is not guilty of the sin of pride. It was passed down to all men through Adam (Romans 5:12). As Christians, we can recall the story of Adam and Eve in the garden; they were tricked into eating the forbidden fruit by Satan. He tempted them with the pride of life.
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” – Genesis 3:5
He convinced them that they would be happier if they exalted themselves as gods. Is it much of a shock, then, that Satan would still employ the same tactics? Of course not!
It is easier for the devil to hold us back if we esteem ourselves of the highest value. Pride always leads to destruction! My pride, in the arena of diet and exercise, led me to destructive behaviors. I was mentally exhausted and chronically sore from the frequency and style of my workouts. This often left me unable to put any effort toward the more important things in life. Spiritually I was in a rut. God doesn’t share His Supreme status with the likes of ruined sinners like me, and yet, I was trying to chisel myself into the fashion of a “god”.
The motives behind our actions matter.
Pride is deadly. We must eliminate it while trying to make clear decisions regarding our health. If we focused our attention on being healthy and taking care of our earthly temple, it would dramatically change our approach to diet and exercise (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Changing our motives could help us avoid another starvation or deprivation diet. If we thought less about how we look and focused more on the fortification of our bodies, we could avoid harmful practices in the gym that often lead to injury. Finally, by shifting our priorities, we could enhance our walk with God, rather than weaken ourselves spiritually—especially for the sake of something as trivial as diet and exercise. Don’t be deceived into letting a good thing become a very bad thing! We can overcome the deceiver!
We may have to stop every once in a while and ask ourselves, “Is my diet and exercise regimen healthy or harmful?”