Last weekend our church wrapped up a series called “40 Days in the Word” in which we dug into our Bibles daily and learned different methods of studying Scripture. I wasn’t quite sure how the series would wrap up, but I was so encouraged by the sermon on Sunday that I wanted to share with you guys, especially because, like everything in life, I think it applies to your fitness journey, too!
Brad Young spoke about how to remain in God’s Word. The question was after committing to reading our Bibles, how do we keep it up moving forward? Brad brought us to Psalm 1; below are the first 3 verses:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
What’s interesting (and something I’ve never thought of) is that the first thing the author says about how to be blessed is by saying DON’T do these things. So after saying NOT to walk in step with the wicked (make life decisions like them), stand with them (live like them) or sit with them (where we stay most comfortable – our home isn’t ultimately here, it’s in Heaven!), we are given a positive way to live. I love this because negative reinforcement isn’t always a great motivator, is it? We must DELIGHT in God’s law (the Bible) and meditate on it day and night.
Okay. Sounds simple enough. Find delight in the Bible. But HOW do we delight in God’s Word when there are so many other flashy things and distractions and instant interests all around us? The root of finding delight isn’t in being more disciplined in reading or studying but in pursuing the one behind the delight; it’s about falling in love with Jesus and realizing that He delights in US! Here’s an example of what I mean:
When I think about what I really delight in, aside from family, Mikey and movement, I really delight in going to movies. I anticipate what we’ll watch, love when the lights go down, look forward to the previews as I begin to eat my candy and enjoy settling in when the story begins. I go to movies and spend money and time on them because I delight in them – it’s as simple as that! So it makes sense that if you actually delight in God in terms of your relationship, you’ll want to be with him, and want to read His word since that’s how we get to know God! When there is a delight there is a FREEDOM; as Brad shared, delight is the opposite of duty and indicates pleasure.
Think about it – who do you want to be around most in your life? People who love you! What really struck me about staying in God’s Word from the sermon was this idea that we need to know we are loved and delighted in by God in order for us to delight in Him! 1 John 4:19 says it best: “We love because he first loved us.” Knowing that God truly delights in me fuels me to want to be with Him, and it’s a reminder that as Christians, we don’t live directed by duty but by relationship. This originates with a changed heart and knowing we are loved by God and then bleeds into the rest of our lives in terms of how we live.
I wonder if it’s the same in our fitness journey? You might grind yourself into a pulp in the gym or beat yourself up for eating some cake “off” your meal plan but are’t you just working from a place of negative self-motivation?
Let’s change that paradigm. What if you worked out and nourished your body with real, nutrient-dense foods because you loved yourself? What if you enjoyed movement and the occasional piece of cake without hating yourself afterwards for how your body jiggles and for enjoying that sugar? There is so much freedom in pursuing a healthier body and lifestyle when you’re doing it from a place of self-love. [And remember, accepting yourself and moving towards health aren’t mutually exclusive; you can do both at the same time!] Saying you embrace who you are doesn’t mean you’ll throw out all your healthy habits and eat a bag of chips; it means you’re not disciplining yourself to workout (or eat well or read your Bible or meditate, etc) but rather moving, eating, growing and living from a place of love.
Do you know that you are even delighted in and loved? Do you really believe it? And IF you believed it, how would that affect the way you workout, you think, you talk, you interact with others, you LIVE?