“I’ve just gotta get back into a routine!” This is one of the top comments I hear from people when I talk about getting on track with his or her health. Health is a habit, and habits need to be developed and trained. The need for a program, schedule, regimen or routine is quickly apparent when you consider all of the demands that eat at the seconds on your quickly ticking clock.
With so much to do in a day how will you get it all done? In addition, how will you find time to exercise, eat healthy and get adequate rest? You need to understand that health and fitness are not ‘additional’ or ‘optional’ items to add to your daily agenda. They are essentials, which flow out of a life lead by the Spirit of God. Instead of asking how you will find time to exercise, eat right and rest well, start with a more fundamental question, “What is the Spirit of God saying about my body?” Then ask, “How will I get anything accomplished if I allow my body to slowly weaken, fatigue and break down?”
God has designed our bodies to need three essential components in order to flourish: food, rest and physical exertion. If any one of these fundamental three are off kilter, depleted or lacking, we will find ourselves struggling to live to our full potential. They are all complementary and co-dependent. One flat tire on a tricycle will slow the whole thing down. When all three are working as they are designed, the designer will be praised. Certainly that’s an ultimate goal.
Understanding the way God has designed this thing called life is crucial to living it to the max. It becomes so easy to fill our days with distractions and forget how to get strong time until we find ourselves missing out on the true purpose for our existence. In the Bible John writes “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” You see, John understood there is a connection between our spiritual condition and our physical health. It starts with an understanding of truth and then walking in it. When we are walking in truth, our lives will find order and health.
As our prayer life becomes more intimate, as our connection with the Body of Christ (Christians) becomes stronger and as our understanding of the Bible grows deeper, then our ability to be led by the Spirit of God will increase. When this happens, our routines will be adjusted, adapted and molded to his will. The things that fill our schedules and demand our time will be deliberate action plans to carry out what we know God has called us to do for each day, week, or year.
Therefore, the first routine we must establish is one that is rooted in a pursuit of truth. It is by seeking after and following truth that our inner man is made right. When our inner man is right with God, it will overflow in our actions to care for and use our bodies to advance the truth.
The Bible records one of Jesus’ habits. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Later, in the Bible we read, “And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.” Prayer was essential in the routine of Jesus. He did not do anything before he had prayed and heard God His Father speak. In fact He went so far as to say He “can do only what He sees his Father doing” and can only “judge as I hear.” The things accomplished in a day in the life of Jesus flowed out of prayer as he received direction from his Father. If you follow this example, you will live a strong, healthy and powerful life.
The Spirit of God will always lead us to life. As He directs our days, we will live the abundant life Jesus promised. God’s leading for each person is unique, but there are some general guidelines for our bodies when developing a routine that will bring glory to God.
WE ARE BODIES OF ROUTINE
SLEEP – Set a bedtime. Instead of dozing off to the TV or trying to see how far your body will go before it finally gives out, practice going to bed at a consistent time that will allow you 6-8 hours of sleep.
EAT – Start with breakfast. Jump start your day and your metabolism by “breaking your fast” and getting in those crucial nutrients before your day begins. Remember, God has big things in store for you today.
EXERCISE – Dedicate fifteen to thirty minutes a day for movement that is more intense than your everyday tasks. For example, if you are on your feet all day at your job, take fifteen to thirty minutes to devote to intervals of training that require more than you give on a daily basis at your job.
BE THANKFUL – Take time to recognize the millions of gifts and blessings that rain down on us from the moment we open our eyes in the morning. Walking in thanksgiving frees us from the bondage of fear, anger and worry. God is awesome - He deserves it!
KNOW YOUR VALUE – You are fearfully and wonderfully made from the inside out. God is proud of you and loves you. This will not change if you are overweight or in shape. Make sure your identity is grounded in what God says about you and not what the scale or mirror says.
MAKE IT ABOUT OTHERS – You are blessed to be a blessing. The number one reason you should pursue better health is to position yourself to pour into others, just as Jesus came to serve and to give his life for us.
Jake A. Merrick
is the author of Bodies of Christ
. He is a personal trainer, owner of Balance Fitness Studio
and co-founder of Kurios Nutrition. He and his wife Nicole are teaching pastors at God’s Tabernacle of Praise in Edmond, OK. He teaches as a professor o theology at Southwestern Christian University.