Week 10: Going from “got to” to “get to”

get to exercise_newsletter

I enjoy exercising to Michelle Spadafora’s Faithful Workouts. Several times a week I get up early so I can start my day with one of her videos.  They’re not long (25 minutes) and most people, regardless of your physical level, can do the exercises.  She mixes up cardio and strength training for an overall, total body workout.  I especially like her core exercises that focus on strengthening the abdominal, back and hip muscles.

Michelle also points out that even if you’re exercising reluctantly, think of it as a praise and worship activity and thank God for being healthy enough to exercise.  She encourages viewers to think of others who have physical limitations preventing them from exercising, or even simply walking.  When you think of that person, compare your current physical health to theirs. Be thankful that God has blessed you enough that you have physical strength to exercise.  Thank Him even if you’re only able to sit on the couch and do leg lifts and bicep curls.

Simply put, we need to change our thinking about exercise from an attitude of moaning and groaning, “Do I really gotta?” Have an attitude of “Thank you, God; You have blessed me enough that I get to exercise!”

Maybe you’re at the point now where you’re in pretty good shape.  You don’t think about exercise that much because you don’t feel you need to.  If you’re in this category, you need to reconsider your attitude toward exercise and view it as preventative maintenance.  If you have ever heard the phrase “use it or lose it,” it applies especially to your body when it comes to fitness.

Exercise is a way to get your body strong and keep it that way. If and when you are faced with medical issues, the severity and recovery time will probably be less than someone who has not stayed in shape.  It will also help to give you a better quality of life as you age. Who doesn’t want to be able to keep up with their children and grandchildren?  You don’t want to become easily winded, tired or unable to go on a nature hike with them.

The miracle of everyday health is just as great as any miracle we’ve read about in the Bible.  Consider the parting of the Red Sea, making a way for the Israelites to cross.  Remember the twelve hours of mid-day sun so Joshua could battle the Amorites.  Consider the iron axe head miraculously floating in water.  The difference is these things only happened rarely, but we have the benefits of a healthy, functioning body every day.  Even in elementary school we learned what an incredible miracle our bodies are.  Because of this, we should be motivated to consistently exercise because we “get to” take care of and keep in shape the miracle that is our body.

Nutritious eating is only part of being physically healthy.  If you still have not committed to an exercise schedule, make one today.  Remember to start off simply, choose forms of exercise that you like and make it a routine part of your day.  If you are exercising regularly, increase the amount of your workout time by just a few minutes.  Up the intensity just a bit to get more out of your workout.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I don’t have these struggles just like you do.  My writing is based on my own experiences with struggles, successes and failures.  I am vulnerable to the very same issues.  I have days, sometimes a couple of weeks, where I look for justification to get out of exercising that day.  I make up all sorts of excuses to binge on something I’m craving.  I have learned that the first step down a negative path starts as a thought.  If I stop it immediately and ask God for a right spirit and attitude toward exercise and food, and really give Him the control of those thoughts, I’ll make the healthy choice.

Most of the time I succeed, sometimes I don’t.  Lately the devil has been using a lot of circumstances (working 10 – 12 hour days, my little bit of free time is crammed full of other obligations, house cleaning, yard work, no down time at all) to chip away at my resolve to live a Godly, healthy lifestyle.  He’s tried to wear me down and wear me out so I’ll feel justified in running through the drive through for some fast food or not sticking to my exercise schedule.

The only way I have been able to stay on course is to one, stop those thoughts before they take root and give them to God.  Two, change my thinking and attitude.  Three, remember how good I feel after exercise and eating right, and how pleased God is with my obedience.  I’ll regret eating junk or not exercising; I’ll never regret pushing to make the right choice!

Make it a goal to change your thinking about exercise.  The next time you begin to groan and complain because you “gotta” exercise, don’t take your health for granted, praise God for what He has given you and that you “get to” exercise!

Week 10: The devil made me do it!

devil made me do it

As a child, I had a very active and vivid imagination.  So vivid and active that I had an imaginary playmate named Jenny that I was convinced was real.  I was the youngest child in my family, the youngest grandchild to my maternal grandparents and, until I was about five, the youngest grandchild of my fraternal grandparents.  As the youngest on all fronts, often the older kids were off doing their own thing or either didn’t want the baby tagging along.  To amuse myself, I created Jenny.

Sometimes Jenny was really nice.  But other times she would make me do things I didn’t want to do, such as deny breaking something or sticking out my tongue in anger (believe me, that only happened once!).  When caught, I was always quick to say, “Jenny made me do it!”  Sometimes I was a little afraid of her; she would boldly go where I wouldn’t and eagerly do things I was afraid to.  I always had a scapegoat and could blame Jenny for the temptations I gave in to.

I also had a purple monster that lived in my bedroom closet, but he was sweet and protective, only came out at night and only I could see him.  I won’t even try to analyze that one – I’ll only say my weirdness began at a very early age!

As adults, we don’t have a Jenny to fall back on for giving in to temptations, but we do have others things to blame it on – peer pressure, stressful situations and the old standby of “the devil made me do it!” to name a few.  Now we know that no one, not even the devil, can force us to do anything.  He can, however, wear you down so that you snap at someone you love, pass on gossip, watch pornography, go on an eating or drinking binge or give in to laziness.  He not only wants to weaken your witness, he wants to take you down.

When you make the commitment to begin a healthy lifestyle both spiritually and physically, the devil is going to try his best to convince you that you can’t do it.  His most powerful weapon is to get inside your head and control your mind, lower your self-esteem and self-confidence.  He and his armies are experts at this, they have had centuries of honing these particular skills and will use any means necessary to get you to doubt yourself.

It begins as negative thoughts in your head that won’t go away.  The discouraging thoughts continue to whisper and get louder and louder until you begin to believe them.  Then the voices go a bit further and say, “I told you that you couldn’t do it.  You can’t succeed.  You’re nobody special.  What makes you think you can change now?  What makes you think this time is going to be different?”

In other words, our battle isn’t with food, exercise, alcohol, drugs, sex, you name it.  Our battle begins in our minds and the thoughts that drive our decisions and keep us from making healthy choices.

Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel (I know, you’re saying whew, finally!).  You don’t have to battle on the devil and his armies on your own!  Jesus has already come to earth to destroy evil for you; the war has already been done!  1 John 3: 8 tells us “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

The devil is still in operation, but he has already been defeated and in Christ we can escape his plans for our ruination.  The secret to escape from satan’s plan to ruin you is to realize that if you try to do it on your own you will lose; you need the help that can only come from surrendering negativity to God.  Matthew 6:13 reads:

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

God knows what we need before we ask Him.  Even though we ask Him to not be led into temptation, the times that we are He will always provide a way of escape; we’ll always be given an out.  When you hear the negative thoughts in your head, immediately know where they are coming from and do not let them take control.  Know that any negativity is not from God and banish them in the name of Jesus.

If you want to change so that you can have a life that is strong both physically and spiritually and have a full, complete unified walk with God by taking care of His temple, you cannot do it on your own.  If you have negative thoughts and have come to believe them, take them to God.  Believe that if you allow Him to walk beside you and have control on your journey to a healthy lifestyle you will succeed.  Never forget that Jesus came to this earth by choice and died for you, defeated satan for you on the cross and rose three days later.  There is no defeat and you don’t have to fight this alone.  If you still have self-doubts, remember this – the power that raised a dead Jesus from that cold stone slab in a pitch-black, sealed tomb is the very same power that, as a Christian, lives in you!  The very same power!

There is a contemporary Christian song by Jeremy Camp titled “Same Power” based on Romans 8:11.  Jeremy was inspired to write this song because of his experience at a major public Christian event in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a country where opening sharing about Jesus will in the least result in being beaten and maybe even arrested or killed.  You can read Jeremy’s story as well as listen to the song by clicking the links below.

Never forget that, as a Christian, you have His power and there is no defeat!

‘Same Power’–The Story Behind The Song!

 

Scripture:

Ephesians 6:10-12:  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I know that I am your child and that you created me out of love.  Right here and now I give You the negative thoughts and lies that the devil wants me to believe.  Thank You that, in the name of Jesus, You will give me renewed strength to overcome any negativity in my life.  I know that it is not by my own strength but Your power and Your power only that this is possible.  Fill me with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work a miracle in me today.  I thank you for Your love, Your grace and Your unending mercy.  I love You, Jesus!  Amen.

toby peeking tempted