I had a revelation recently: we are all bodybuilders of some kind and in some form or fashion. I had recently returned to the gym after the holidays and was slow to jump into any rigorous form of exercise. Instead, I was quite content to walk laps on the indoor track and intersperse that with some simple weight machines to build up my strength and stamina again.
As I walked laps, I kept observing a woman in the separate free weights section in the gym studying herself in the mirror while working out. Initially, I was a bit shocked at the sight of her body and shape. She had bulging muscles everywhere. Not the sculpted gentle lines of a female physique, but rather massive, hard, and defined muscles you’d see in a man or with a serious and competitive bodybuilder.
I realized she was not just dedicated to her sport, but surely spent hours every day lifting and pressing weights with a shocking weight load.
The following week, I encountered another woman closer to my age. This beautiful blonde was also intensely working out while intently watching herself in the mirror. She had a fabulous figure with not an ounce of fat it seemed. Well-defined and beautiful lines showed in her arms and legs as she swung the weights in rhythm to the music. She has a fabulous figure: one to envy! Almost!
But as I continued walking, I overheard one of the trainers exclaim to this woman, “Are you still here? How long have you been here? You came before 8:00 this morning! Aren’t you tired yet?” I arched my eyebrows in surprise because it was after 2:00 in the afternoon! “Oh, I have plenty of energy. Today is a shorter workout,” the animated woman declared.
I was stunned. Over six hours in the gym working out and this was her shortest day? I realized this stranger was sacrificing most of her day and time to be a type of bodybuilder or to have a very athletic and sculpted figure. She paid a huge price to look the way she did.
Both of these women showed the extreme sacrifices people will go to to be fit, to compete, to look younger, or whatever their bodybuilding or fitness goals are. Now there’s nothing wrong with working out or being in shape. But this begs the question: “What or who are you living your life for? What are you sacrificing your precious time and energy for?”
Then I thought of two other bodybuilders I know who are close to me. Sure, these women enjoy walking or various forms of exercise, but that is NOT their focus in life. They are focused on building the BODY of Christ.
Marisa, my dear lifelong friend, has spent her life in service to God and others. Weekly, she runs the Birthright Center helping women in a crisis pregnancy or families needing resources. She regularly gives out diapers, clothing, food, and gift cards to women and families in need. She always keeps her phone by her side to counsel or help those in need with a 24/7 hotline. In addition to her work, in her spare time, Marisa also encourages others with daily devotionals, cards, phone calls, text messages, or meals she prepares and delivers to a friend in need. She prays and encourages others--even total strangers! Marisa spends her entire life Bodybuilding for the kingdom of God.
Another friend bemoans her shape worrying she’s not athletic enough. Shelley though does not realize how truly fit she is! A worshiper, Shelley serves at her church regularly leading others into deep praise and worship of God. In addition, she’s always opening her heart, home, and doors to the lonely and mentoring newcomers over a Sunday meal after church. Though busy with a career, Shelley and her husband sacrifice and prepare a large meal and welcome people to gather in their home weekly to build up the Body of Christ in a community group as well.
These two friends are extraordinary BODYbuilders and I’m in awe of them and inspired. They make tremendous sacrifices of their time and resources just like the two other bodybuilders. But in each example, the first are building up themselves, the latter are building up Christ and His body.
If you were to examine your life, your time, and your resources, ask yourself: “What kind of bodybuilder am I?” We’re all building some kind of body.
Should you examine your life and time, what would it reveal? What you sacrifice your life for shows where your heart and passion lie. What you spend your money on is also revealing. Beloved, I do not condemn you. Rather I encourage you to examine your whole life and then partner with Me to be a true Bodybuilder for My Kingdom and eternity. With Me, as your Trainer, you can have an eternal and lasting impact and reward! The choice is yours.
“And their calling is to nurture and prepare all the holy believers to do their own works of ministry, and as they do, this will enlarge and build up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)
“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1Timothy 4:8)