By JADE WHITEHURST
As a science teacher, Jesus lover and fitness enthusiast, I LOVE it when science, fitness and faith coincide.
It is no secret that science can back up all the benefits of living an active lifestyle. A quick Google search will tell you how exercise can boost the dopamine (aka the happy mood chemical) in our brains, resulting in reduced anxiety and depression. In fact, even the Bible teaches us how caring for our physical bodies yields benefits that God had laid the foundation for long before science proved it.
However, as a health and fitness coach, I have seen firsthand the many struggles women face when trying to overcome their health and fitness struggles. Why is that? If the Bible says it, why do we still struggle to live it out? Why can’t we just eat right, say no to the second piece of cake, and stop quitting and starting over again and again (or worse, walking away completely)?
One word: sin.
Poor Eve, she catches a lot of flak for her sin in the garden, but even though she was the first woman who was deceived by the enemy’s words, she was definitely not the last. Like many of us, Eve forgot WHOSE she was and that she was lacking nothing.
When we start hearing Satan’s lies over our Father’s truths, we can easily find ourselves convinced to throw in the towel on honoring our body — the very temple that God made. A sick body is a limited body, and a limited body cannot fulfill its God-given purpose and do kingdom work. For this reason, let us draw near to the Lord and thank Him that we do not have to live in those strongholds anymore. We can claim victory over them through Holy Spirit power!
It is my goal to help women see that exercise can be good for our health when and only when we approach it with a godly heart and mindset. It’s important that we let go of worldly and unrealistic expectations and realize that it is not about a certain size, shape or figure. It is about learning to view our health journey as a praise response to the One who designed our bodies to move in the first place. Let it encourage you that God already laid out His good and perfect plan for us long ago. Not because He is a controlling God, but because He is a loving God who wants what is best for you and me.
However, in order for us to live out this truth, we must be connected to the Vinedresser. In John chapter 15, it says we must abide in Him in order to bear or produce fruit. We cannot do it in and of our own selves. Furthermore, if we are not careful, we will try to put too much emphasis on the “produce” part — but look carefully. The command is not to produce. The command is to REMAIN, or abide in Christ. We cannot produce fruit or overcome our strongholds without being connected to the One who gives life.
So my question for you today is, are you connected? Is your strength drawn from the Father? We don’t produce to earn! We remain and abide in the never-ending love of Christ, and then — and only then — the fruit will come. His Holy Spirit is the fruit producer. We are simply His branches that are privileged to display His goodness.
He gives life, strength, purpose and rest. It is time we let go of unrealistic expectations and begin to focus our hearts and eyes on Him. May we begin to allow God to bear fruit in our lives by giving Him full access to our health and fitness goals, and in doing so we can display His goodness in our lives and do the very kingdom work He has called us to in a body that is able.
Our Father is glorified by this.
Jade Whitehurst is a wife, mom, fitness coach and eighth-grade science teacher. You can follow her on Instagram @jadewhitehurst_fit (aka The Faith Fit Mom).