Taking the Chore Out of Church and the Failure Out of Fitness

new_logo_rgb_blogMany people wind up pursuing their fitness goals rather than realizing them.  And the reason they fall short is usually one or a combination of the following…

  • Fitness is important, but it’s not necessarily a priority
  • You can participate without being engaged
  • You have to be consistent in order to see any real results

Fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry. The “idea” of being fit is an appealing thought. It’s not difficult at all to market the thought of a more healthier you. But it’s a process that’s not always convenient and requires a substantial investment of time and effort.  Consequently, a lot of gym memberships go unused and a myriad of like-new fitness equipment show up in garage sales.

Why is it that some have enthusiastically adopted a lifestyle characterized by healthy eating and consistent trips to the gym, where others are constantly chastising themselves every time they look at their reflection in the mirror?

The reason is really very simple and it’s represented by a one word question…


Why are you working out? Why are you making the effort to eat healthy…?

Before you allow yourself to think that the answer is as easy as it is obvious, bear in mind that if your response is nothing more than a series of self-gratifying resolutions, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Here’s why…

If the principal reason for your decision to get in shape is to simply look better or feel better or perform better, you’ve built your resolve on a premise constructed exclusively on a desire to gratify yourself. Sure, wanting to be healthy is a good reason to get in shape. And wanting to look better and feel better isn’t necessarily “selfish.” But, there is nevertheless an element of self-gratification present and that’s why it’s not uncommon to be confronted with something that’s legitimately inconvenient and your subconscious responds with a willingness to make some compromises because, after all,  it’s a lot easier to gratify yourself by staying in bed a little bit longer than it is to get up extra early to workout.

Do you see why your philosophical foundation is so important?

And what makes this so significant is the way in which this applies to any kind of discipline.

You want to be able to establish the reason for whatever it is you’re getting ready to do as something that goes beyond yourself and what’s immediately in front of you. Sometimes, that’s enough. But when you’re looking at an extended period of sacrifice and restraint, you want to have a resolve founded on something that addresses the Present, the Practical and the Profound.

The Present

Here’s where your initial response can be categorized: I want to look better, I want to feel better, I want to perform better. You’ve got some weight you can lose, you want to build some muscle. The “present” is the mirror and the reflection that inspires you to take some action.

The Practical

Fitness isn’t just your appearance, it’s your overall health. From a practical standpoint, you want to be active in order to be healthy and enjoy a lifestyle that isn’t limited by obesity or physical frailty.

The Profound

Here’s where you’re getting the biggest band for your buck!

Bear in mind that although we’re focusing on physical fitness, what we’re getting ready to discuss applies to virtually everything that requires some kind of effort in order to improve.

Relationships require time and effort in order for them to grow. Any kind of professional skill that you have typically requires some kind of education and ongoing training. To be fit, to be godly, to be marketable, to be emotionally healthy  -  all of what constitutes those things that are truly important in life – mandate a substantial investment of mental and physical capital in order for them to resonate as healthy and productive. In other words, you need to be disciplined in order to ensure your priorities are what they need to be and you’re not just going through the motions in both establishing those priorities and engaging in those behaviors that honor those priorities.

While discipline is not a new concept, there is something that is often overlooked as far as what drives the manner in which it is deployed. You can show up and yet never really be present. You can exercise and not ever train. You can listen to a sermon and never really hear it. You can be at work and still be miles away and you can be talking to someone and yet be thinking of something else.

The legitimacy of your priorities is defined not just by what you do, but in the way you do it. And if your manner is going to resonate as both consistent and passionate, then your inspiration has to be

Burn to Learn. Crave to Train. Desire to Perspire.

The way in which you construct the philosophical foundation upon which you base your priorities has to go beyond what resonates as nothing more than a noble chore. You have to pop the hood on what it you’re doing and be able to respond to the inconvenience and the sacrifice that threaten to compromise your resolve with the Truth and the Substance of the Result you’re pursuing.

How do you do that?

It goes back to the question that was referred to earlier…


Why are you exercising? Why do you diet? Why are you going to school? Why are you taking online courses? Why are you doing the dishes? What is it that results from the sacrifice you’re making and is it worth your time?

The Present, The Practical and The Profound

When you workout, you’re not just exercising your muscles. You’re burning calories, you’re building muscle and you’re feeling accomplished. Beyond that, you’re positioning yourself in a way where you can be active, you can look your best and be a good example. In the most profound way, you’re being a good steward of the body God has given you and you’re avoiding the tangled ball of nonsense that is the sin of gluttony. You’re not just working out because you want to look better, feel better and perform better. You’re not just trying to gratify yourself. You’ve got a paradigm in place that includes elements that go beyond you and you alone.


The way in which you answer that question will define the degree of passion and resolve with which you engage your King and pursue your fitness goals.

What do you get out of going to church?

If it’s nothing more than just a remedy for what would otherwise be a guilty conscience, while you’re doing well to show up, you’re missing the package of practical perks that God offers every time you engage Him either in the context of doing something on His behalf or taking some time out to fill your head with the Truth of all that He is and all that He brings to the table.

Why do you workout?

If you’re simply trying to improve your appearance, then you’re subconsciously laboring to gratify yourself. Granted, there’s more to it than that, but if that element is prominent, the first time you’re confronted with any real inconvenience or the moment you’re having to make a legitimate sacrifice, your brain starts doing the philosophical math and is able to calculate that you can gratify yourself a lot easier by getting some extra sleep or having a little more to eat than getting up early and going to the gym.

And what’s really significant about all this is that we all have the ability to truly live or merely exist. If we’re not careful, out lives become defined by our bank statements and our calendars. While we can appreciate the advantages represented by being “spiritual” or the benefits of being healthy, we’re inclined to process them as chores and obligations and as a result, we blow right past the symphony that God intended our lives to be and instead settle for the white noise of goalposts that never stop moving.

Head out to the “Muscular Christianity” facebook page and “like” it to get daily tips on how to take the chore out of church and the failure out of fitness!

Bring it!

Related articles

Leave a Reply