“Exercise? Lord, you want me to exercise? Are You serious? Don’t You know how hard that is for me? I just wanna stay in bed. I want to eat whatever I want whenever I want and never gain an ounce. Are You sure exercise is necessary?”
Exercising does not come natural to me. If rating it on an enjoyment scale, I would put it somewhere above scrubbing toilets and then somewhere below eating chocolate. Waaaaaaaay below chocolate. To my flesh exercise seems (if I am going to be quite honest) unfair.
Those very feelings reveal a place where I have gotten the Lord and the enemy confused. I treat the Lord like He is the one trying to steal from me – stealing my right to pleasure, my right to yummy foods, my right to being a couch potato.
But Jesus was not sent to this earth to steal from us. Stealing is Satan’s job description. Jesus came to give.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)
I tend to look at how inconvenient, painful, and just plain hard exercise can be, but the Lord sees the end result. He sees how much better I will feel. He sees how much healthier I will be if I get my behind moving. He sees an improved quality of life down the road if I will discipline my body now. He is trying to give me part of that abundant life – one that includes physical health along with the spiritual and emotional health He offers.
The Lord isn’t stealing anything from me. He wants me to be blessed. And as much as my body may disagree at first, exercise is a blessing.
So does having this knowledge that exercise is actually a blessing make me want to jump out of bed singing, “Hallelujah!! I get to work out today!”? No. Not yet, at least. But God promises me in His Word that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV) – even exercise. And He says He can give me the want to in those places I don’t want to-“For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” (Philippians 2:13, NLT)
God wants us to be healthy even more than we do. All we have to do is ask Him to help us. And I must admit, I really do feel better on those days I choose to throw on my sneakers and work up a sweat.
So how about you? Have you had the enemy and the Lord confused on this one, too? May the Lord open our eyes to who the real thief is, and may we partake fully of the abundant life He wants us to have.
(P.S. I think a little chocolate on the side is okay.)