If you follow Exercise Menu, you know that I quite often cite research articles and quotes of well-respected fitness experts. I have even gone as far back as Plato and his take on exercise.

But I came across evidence and advice that supersedes any journal article or philosopher’s view… While doing my Bible study the other day, I came across this awesome verse from the ultimate authority on exercise… Yes, The One who created the body!

1 Corinthians 9 (NIV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

While these verses can be applied to many aspects of life that require self-discipline, we can take the more literal approach and apply these words directly to exercise.

Let’s take a closer look into these verses:

Run in such a way to get the prize – We must all learn to live each moment of everyday with purpose. Too many times, we coast through the day. Coast through life. Coast through a workout.

Instead, we should strive to live, eat, breathe and exercise with a purpose. We should push ourselves as much as we can with every workout. Goals should be set so that you strive for your prize with every weight lifted or mile run. Whether it be to lose weight, get off medications or stay healthy — live for that purpose.

Go into strict training – Self-discipline is a must, and one of the best ways we can honor God. Although we are all grown people, we can all benefit from setting boundaries. But first, you have to define them.

To begin defining your boundaries, I highly recommend sitting down for 20-30 minutes and creating a “Mission Statement” for your body’s health. Follow that Mission Statement as a business would, and be strict with yourself. Not only will your health benefit, but you will also be honoring your Father and setting a great example for others.

Strike a blow to your body and make it your slave – “No pain, no gain.” There must be an aspect of “discomfort” in order to improve. And when you think about it, that is true for everything in life. Want a better grade, you have to study. Want to get stronger, you have to lift weights.

Learn to make your body your slave. It so often happens that we miss a workout because we aren’t feelin’ it. It’s all a mind trick! We are in complete control of what we can do with what we have. We all have limitations physically. But that can’t be an excuse. Each one of us has to refer back to our body’s Mission Statement and actively do something daily to improve our physical health.

I challenge all of you to change your perspective on exercise. We shouldn’t exercise just to lose weight, look better or feel better. We should exercise and eat healthy to honor The Lord.

Today, let’s take His advice and enjoy all of the blessings that come with being obedient!