A FRESH LOOK AT WORSHIP
We often think of worship as something we do on Sunday mornings with friends and family as the praise band plays in our beautiful stained-glass buildings. But does worship really start at 11:00am and end at noon as we exit the building, when we worship at a different kind of altar – the nearest “all you can eat” buffet, giving praise to God while we fill up our plates for a second or third time?
What if there is a deeper connection between eating, exercise, and worship?
I’d worn an old t-shirt with a picture of a cross on it that said, I never run alone. I was really struggling that morning, so I started to pray, giving thanks for the strength I had to put one foot in front of the other. I prayed for my children, and then asked God to help me make good food choices that day. By the time I looked at my watch, I’d been jogging for 60 minutes! As I had focused on the Lord, my body kept running. My body, mind and spirit were all blessed that morning! From that moment on, I wanted every opportunity I had to exercise to be a worship experience too.
A HOLY ENCOUNTER: EXERCISE AS WORSHIP
Since that “fruitful run of prayer and praise,” exercise has grown into something so much more important than just moving my body. It has become a holy encounter with the Living God. The same is true when I skip unhealthy foods, presenting myself to Him daily in this body. What He has given me has become a powerful part of my faith walk. I can no longer imagine living any other way.
ALL WE DO CAN BE AN ACT OF WORSHIP
Our lives can be living sacrifices to God. Everything we do can be an act of worship when we place God at the center, allowing Him to transform the ways we think and act. In Romans 12:1, Paul proclaims the amazing truth that because God loves us, when we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, our whole lives can be an act of worship:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
The Lord sanctifies not only our minds and spirits, but also our bodies. Gradually, He works in us to help us become a clearer reflection of Christ.
OUR LIVES A LIVING SACRIFICE
Until the death of Christ, God’s people offered regular sacrifices in the Temple. Now our lives are a living sacrifice. Jesus has already done the work, making us acceptable in God’s sight. Instead, we are called to live in such a way that others see the love and glory of God through us.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—
the fruit of lips that confess his name.
And do not forget to do good and to share with others,
for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Imagine the power of our testimonies if, when someone asks us why we have decided to eat healthy and exercise, we respond, “God has given me a short time on this earth and I long for my life to show others His amazing love!”
Questions For Reflection
1. In what ways do you struggle with food or exercise?
2. What does it mean to offer your life as a living sacrifice?
3. If someone asked you why you choose to eat healthier or add a little more movement to your days, what would you most want to tell them?
Vicki is a pastor’s wife, with four grown children and six grandchildren, the National Director of First Place 4 Health, a faith-based wellness ministry, a nationally known speaker, and the reluctant author of Don’t Quit Get Fit: Overcoming the 4 Fitness Killers, Healthy Boundaries, and The Wellness Journey of a Lifetime. She holds certifications with American Council on Exercise and Body & Soul Fitness. Vicki strives to bring others into the Kingdom through speaking, writing, and leading exercise classes. As a humble and devoted follower of Christ, she understands that the struggle for health and wellness is real, but worth it.
With your doctor’s guidance, and a little creativity, exercising with chronic illness is not just possible, but can be rewarding. Meet with God in movement — always at the pace of grace.