I was really excited when Amy proposed this topic, because we spend so much time encouraging fitness and spirituality – it’s important to take a second to look at the flip side of things! Enjoy today’s guest post! ♥
Hey, everyone! My name is Amy, and I blog over at Run with Perseverance! I write about everyday life with a focus on faith, fitness, and food. I’m so excited to be guest posting for Jessica today about something I’ve dealt with recently.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately: Is my commitment to fitness getting in the way of my relationship with God? Am I committed in a spiritually healthy way, or is fitness an idol? I know that a lot of people find that fitness and spirituality go hand-in-hand, but I think that there’s a fine line that can be crossed into an idolatry-type relationship with fitness.
This all came about back in September. I signed up to run my first half marathon and began training for it soon after. I also wanted to rededicate myself to making my faith a priority, as my relationship with God was not as strong as it had been in the past.
I thought that running would be a great time for prayer (which it is), but I started to notice that I would ONLY pray when I was running. I would ONLY pray that God would be with me on my run and help me get through the workout. That’s not what I had in mind when I wanted to make my relationship with God grow: my half marathon training was my first priority, and my “growing” relationship with God was solely based on running and working out.
One of the Ten Commandments states, “You should have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). He also says, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them” in Exodus 20:4-5. Now, I know that we don’t have an altar built in our home to fitness/healthy living, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an idol.
The definition of idol, according to Merriam-Webster can be “a representation or symbol of an object of worship; a false god”, but it also includes “an object of extreme devotion”. The definition of worship is an integral part of that definition: “extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem”. In other words, an idol is something that we love in place of loving God.
So, examine your own relationship with fitness. Does it come before everything else in your life, including God? Does your commitment to fitness take the place of your commitment to God? Does it prevent you from truly loving God and following His way?
If this is something that you are dealing with, hear some good news from 1 Corinthians 10:13-14:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
You can flee from the idol you are worshiping and turn back to God. I’ve been there, and it took some prayer and time. I’m happy to say that I have a spiritually healthy relationship with fitness now.
What I’ve started doing on runs now is using that time to listen to God. Growing in my relationship with Him requires two-way communication, and I use my running time as a time where I only focus on what He has to say. It’s not the only time I listen for Him, but that’s what I needed to do to put God before running. I also made reading and studying the Bible a daily priority, as well as continual prayer throughout the day.
Thank you again to Jessica for allowing me to guest post! If you have any questions or comments for me, leave them in the comments section or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
Has fitness/healthy living ever become an idol in your life? How can you help your friends and family flee from the idolatry in their lives?