It is a New Year and you like many people have decided to set New Year’s Resolutions based on fitness, their bodies, and their health.
When you set a goal you probably have some standard idea of what it will take to get there. First you must know what it is you want to achieve. In our case it’s something physical or fitness related. Then you take an inventory of what you have, perhaps this is a yoga mat, access to a gym, a series of DVDs, dumbbells, or a walking track near your house. Then you have to know how to use all of these things in conjunction in order to get to that finish line. However, there is something that often we forget to include in our goal setting process and that is “How does God fit into all of this?”
Well let’s take a look at these in a step-by-step analysis and see where God fits.
Your New Year’s Goal is probably something like this “to look better naked” you may not have written it down, or said it in so many words, but let’s face it is true that is your goal. This is no surprise, even as a Christian, in fact naturist colonies are predominantly Christian in origin and practice. You have a body, and you probably have some underlying shame that goes with it, thus you seek to improve your life in this way.
Then how do we fit God into this goal you may ask?
Well first we must change our mindset around our goal. We may know what we want, but it will ultimately never be achieved and you will struggle to find fulfillment in reaching some obscure level of “looking better”. This is true of all material and worldly things we may pursue, none of which will ever bring fulfillment rather we must seek physical fulfillment through God too. Jesus when talking to the Samarian woman says, “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whomever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” (John 4:13). Even ordinary water a staple for life will never bring complete fulfillment.
Meaning what we want “to look better naked” is in essence not a goal we can pursue God in, because it is a pursuit of the flesh, of the physical. Then we must find a way to seek God in our physical goals, because we will still have them regardless. This is indeed possible we just need to revise our goal!
To apply Jesus’ teachings in our lives and our goals we will use the logic Jesus presents we must also revise our goal from “looking better naked” to “building a body worthy of housing God, because God has given me this body, and he deserves my best effort”. This mindset and goal is the fulfillment of the first and great commandment found in Matthew 22:35 “to love thy Lord our God with all our mind, spirit and [body]”. Our body, like salvation, is a gift He offered freely and working to improve it is to provide God a better Home within us.
Now that we know that the pursuit of God in all things is the only way to find fulfillment. Only when we do so in pursuit of our bodily goals will we actually achieve them.
Taking the next step in achieving our goals means we must evaluate what we have in our tools and utility that can help us achieve the goal. The first inventory item we can check off is God, the second is a body. Now you may be like me and find aspects of it frustrating, but that’s fine we are still going to add it to our list of “things we can feel blessed for”. Consider the alternative to feeling frustrated about our gifted bodies and to do so we will look to two extreme examples of what could be in our lives.
The first is Stephen Hawking known for his brilliant scientific mind, wheelchair bound. He is of course not the pinnacle of athleticism. Still though, God blessed him with life and a body that “betrayed” him and with that he went on to become a world-renown scientist.
Your body may be more able though and your goals physical, not scientific, and still though you find discontent with its inabilities. That’s fine too; you are again just like me in that case. But let’s look at this gentleman who is able to do handstand pushups in a wheelchair. Pretty impressive isn’t it? Now this isn’t a competition for who has it worst, but it’s an evaluation of the separate gifts God has given us. More than likely you are not wheelchair bound making you capable of many physical feats. This means that the gift of your body, God has bestowed upon you, is more than enough to get started.
Jesus reminds us what life means in context and this is largely apparent when he speaks to us in Matthew 6:25 He asks his audience to consider that life is more than food, drink and the body. He calls upon us to look at the birds of the sky, and consider how God feeds them too. Just like God used Stephen Hawking to advance science with lack of a “body” he makes His plan perfect for you too. You are more than your body, true, but while it is a gift that we can enjoy we should take care of it.
With these spiritual considerations for your physical goals, you too will be able to achieve whatever it is you set out to do. So long as you trust in God.
Thanks for reading.