By Jason Berry
NOTE: This article is adapted from Jason’s book Workout To Reach Out, Copyright 2015 by Jason Berry. Used by permission. Faith & Fitness Magazine is pleased to provide a copy of Workout To Reach Out to every participant of the 2016 REACHgathering Fitness Track.
THE RIGHT REASON
One of the biggest keys to becoming fit is identifying and correcting (if need be) your reason to become physically fit. If you want to get fit apart from God or for the wrong reasons, then you will find that you are separating yourself from God. Apart from God it will be harder to achieve fitness, and even if you do, it won’t truly satisfy you. Psalm 127:1 states, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”
Many people today want to become fit because of what society defines as an “ideal body image.” Movies, commercials, magazines, and the internet portray this body image. Some people feel that they are “less of a person” if they don’t think they look this way. This leads to a cycle of depression and effort to find acceptance by what others say is beautiful.
The “ideal body image” becomes an idol that people worship. They will do anything to achieve it because of the pleasure they think it will bring. But if you are pursuing an idol, it will only bring about death. There is only ONE God that you should be worshipping! Fitness is part of offering your body as a living sacrifice to Him, not to the world. You can’t find your identity in your body composition. You are not defined by the world but by whom God says you are!
Your reason for becoming physically fit must be in sync with your walk with God. Don’t let fitness become a gateway to sin or lustful obsession. Let fitness be a gateway to step you into your calling! Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We should do everything unto the glory of God and in His name! So if we are working out, then it must be done to His glory and not that of ourselves.
MINDSET ON WHAT GOD SAYS
A transformed life is impossible without a transformed mind. If you want to transform your body, then you first need to learn to control what you think and speak. If you don’t believe you can do something, then you won’t be able to! You won’t have the confidence, effort, or dedication to achieve your goal. Nor will you take the steps of faith necessary to put your fitness transformation in process.
Let’s take the man Jabez for example. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.
Here is a man who transformed his mind and transformed his words. Jabez’s name means “sorrowful” or “painful.” Jabez didn’t accept that his life would be sorrowful. Rather, he specifically prayed that his life would not bring him pain or sorrow. He asked God to enlarge his border, protect Him, be with Him, and believed that God would change his destiny. He transformed his mindset and transformed his life.
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If you want to successfully transform your physical body, you have to line your words up with what God says about you just as Jabez did. It doesn’t matter what people have called you in the past. It matters what you call yourself.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”—2 Corinthians 10:5. You can’t listen to negative thoughts or to negative words spoken by people. You must destroy those speculations and order your thoughts in God’s Word.
Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy that say you CAN’T. The devil will try and tell lies. What is important is what God’s Word says about you! His Word declares that “you CAN do ALL things through Him who strengthens you.”—Philippians 4:13.
Notice that the verse in Corinthians from the opening paragraph says the word “take.” Changing your thoughts from what man says to what God says does not happen automatically. You must take those thoughts captive and line them up with the Word of God.
The devil is the father of lies and loves to lie to you! Since fitness is important to your walk with God, the devil will try and keep you bound in an unhealthy state of laziness, sickness, lies, depression, and negativity. When a negative thought or lie comes in, you must fight it!
WEAPONS OF WARFARE
You are not alone in fighting the good fight of faith. God has given you weapons more powerful than anything that would come against you. The key is to learn how to use them.
These weapons are “divinely powerful.” We see that the weapons of our warfare are Godlike in explosive and mighty power to make things possible and to tear down strongholds!
A stronghold can be a false mindset or anything the enemy has built up. You have the power in Christ to tear down every stronghold! This includes any strongholds that have prevented you from becoming physically fit in the past.
THE WORD AND YOUR WORDS
God’s Word is one of the powerful weapons that you can use to tear down strongholds that have held you back from achieving your fitness goals. Instead of fighting battles in your mind by yourself, start battling them with what God says. To accomplish this, you need to spend time reading God’s Word so that you know it.
Our pastor has prayed for thousands of people and seen countless instantaneous miracles. One day, a tumor started growing on his neck. He was diagnosed with lymphoma by doctors. They said that he needed chemotherapy ASAP. I watched how Pastor battled this attack from the enemy. He didn’t complain, he didn’t feel sorrowful, he didn’t listen to the report of the world. Instead, he listened to what God’s Word said about him, and spoke it! He began to curse that cancer in Jesus’ name and speak complete healing over it. He spoke scripture after scripture.
When Pastor returned to the doctor’s office, he felt the cancer dissolve as he walked up the steps of the office! He went in the office weeping and began to praise God. The doctors were astonished. They marveled at the miracle that had occurred. When they ran tests, they couldn’t find a single cancer cell in his body.
The Bible says that you speak what you believe. Proverbs states that, “Death and life are in the tongue.”—Proverbs 18:21. You can either speak life to your body, or you can speak death. James compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship. Though the tongue is small like a rudder of a ship, it is the guiding part of the whole body. It’s time to turn your rudder to what God says about your body and sail into His plan for your life!
Your words have power, but especially when you are speaking what God says. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “The word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” God’s Word is alive and powerful!
So what does division of the soul and spirit mean? You are a spirit, you live in a body, and you possess your soul. Your soul includes your mind, will, and emotions. You don’t want to be led by your soul, but by your spirit. Speaking the Word of God allows you to accomplish this. The book of Romans tells us, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” God’s Word can judge the thoughts and intentions of your heart. When you listen to God’s Word, you will start to align your will with God’s will. You will begin to walk by His Spirit rather than impulsive or soulish thoughts.
With fitness, we don’t want to have negative thoughts or words. You now know that God’s Word is divinely powerful, that it tears down strongholds, that what you speak is important, and that you speak what you believe. Here are some scriptures from the Bible that you can confess over yourself about fitness and health:
1. “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”—Isaiah 40:31.
Declare that you gain new strength in the Lord because you trust in Him. Muscles break down when you work them out so they need to rebuild or renew. Declare that your muscles renew in God. During your workout, declare that you don’t get tired or weary but have strength to complete your session. Thank Him that you have endurance and are not sluggish. Watch how your energy level changes when you speak God’s Word over yourself!
2. “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air.”—1 Corinthians 9:26.
There is purpose to your workout! You have an aim, a goal, and are not just beating the air. Declare that your workout is for the purpose that God has for you.
3. “For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall.”—Psalm 18:29.
Thank God that by Him you have strength to accomplish physical tasks.
4. “And by His scourging we are healed.”—Isaiah 53:5.
Speak healing into your body in the name of Jesus. Command torn muscles, tendons, ligaments, and things out of order to come into order.
5. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”—Hebrews 12:1.
We are called to fix our eyes on Jesus and to work hard for His kingdom. Declare that you have endurance to accomplish the tasks God has for you.