Chasing The Wind

I've been following along with Jimmy Pena's devotionals over at PrayFit the past couple weeks- I'd highly suggest that you sign up for his devotionals. It's good stuff.

Right now we're reading through Ecclesiastes and basically comparing it to our fitness and the pursuit of the most "perfect", muscular, sculpted, strongest, fittest physique. This is what I take from it: just like anything in life, all of our training, our eating, our meal prepping, our worrying, and our striving is all meaningless apart from God. Ultimately, if those things are taking God's place on the throne of our hearts, if we're not using our health to serve God and others, it's all pointless.

Eugene Peterson once wrote, "Everything we try is so promising at first! But nothing ever seems to amount to very much. We intensify our efforts, but the harder we work at it, the less we get out of it. Ecclesiastes is a famous - perhaps the most famous - witness to this experience of futility."

Anything we pursue in life apart from God on this Earth is like chasing the wind. We can strive for the fittest body, the most money, the best job, pleasures, good food, and travels... trying to find something that will fulfill us and bring us happiness, but in the end it will all only leave us empty. Because we were created solely to know God and live for Him, and it is only in doing so that we will find meaning and joy in our lives.

King Solomon had absolutely EVERYTHING  he could ever want, you guys. Everything!  He denied himself nothing, and he came to the same conclusion: it's all pointless. Meaningless. Smoke. Vanity. Chasing the wind.
Oh, I did great things: built houses...amassed silver and gold...became greater by far than anyone...I refused my heart no pleasure...Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke (everything was meaningless); nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecc 2: 4-11 msg)
— The Teacher

I hate to break it to you, but in the end, our 6 pack abs, our muscular physiques, and the amount of weight we can deadlift will mean NOTHING. If we're not glorifying God, reaching out and serving others, helping the poor, and growing in our relationship with Jesus every day, it's pointless. It really is. So why do we spend so  much time and effort pursuing these things?

I know some of you may not agree. "But-but-but...God wants us to be fit and healthy!" Well, yes, maybe. He doesn't want us to neglect our health, or abuse our bodies, or take our health for granted. Being healthy with a strong, functioning body we are able to move is a gift. A gift that we should be thankful for but that we can easily lose. If you lost your ability to lift, would you still have purpose and meaning in your life?

I'm not saying you can't be strong and fit and have a relationship with God and live your life for Him. But here's the thing with fitness, just like with anything else in this world: it's so easy to get caught up in it. It's easy for us to consume us. It's easy for it to become what brings us our fulfillment. It's easy for it to take God's place in our lives. And yes, those things may bring us happiness and satisfaction temporarily. It makes us feel good for a short while, to see that our efforts and our hard work has paid off. We feel good about ourselves for all we've achieved, and we feel good getting compliments from others. But guess what? If we put God and others on the backburner in the process of achieving those things...then have we really succeeded?

And guys, I'm not just preaching to you all. I'm preaching to myself. "Oh no, my legs won't grow, what am I going to do?" Like that's the worst thing in life that could happen. Like that's going to make any difference on the impact I make on people for Christ. Rather than focusing so much on how to build my legs, I should be focusing on what I'm DOING for Christ with these legs. See, that's why I need this reminder daily. I need to give myself a wake-up call every single day. How do I do that? By staying in God's word, letting His Word and His spirit renew my mind, by thinking about things above, not about things of earth.

Are you finding yourself striving, striving, striving for something-maybe a goal weight, maybe more muscles, maybe more strength-but finding yourself still empty and unfulfilled inside? If so, it's because you were created for more. Maybe it's time to re-focus on something else. Maybe you've been neglecting your relationship with God.  Maybe it's time to put Him in His rightful place in your heart and in your life.

"Fitness; meaningless without God and only meaningful because of Him. Grace has taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. The world can have the gym. I want Jesus." -Jimmy Pena 

Comments

  1. Excellent post!!
    "He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
    He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
    The LORD favors those who fear Him,
    Those who wait for His lovingkindness. Psalms 147

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