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Will Power

Last time I got to write the blog I left you hanging. And to stroke my ego, I’m going to pretend you all have been waiting on the edges of your seats for my next blog. Relax, the wait is over.

If you recall, I talked about how “kind of” is lethal, specifically as it relates to your health and fitness efforts. How we kind of want to be healthy, yet don’t want to give up certain things we know aren’t good for us. Each of us has to know what that certain thing is. What is unhealthy for one, is not necessarily unhealthy for another. The health and fitness industry would like you to believe there’s a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to your health – for you to buy in to the latest craze or trend as the best – but that is simply not the case. Your body is unique. Your metabolism is unique. Your biochemistry is unique. Your exercise routine and diet should also be unique.

We cannot “kind of” put forth effort to be healthy and expect results. A popular meme on social media says something like “I want a hot body but I also want tacos” – or something similar. This is the struggle. Here in lies the problem, but also the solution.

It is an age-old struggle of wanting to be satisfied immediately, paying no mind to the potential negative consequences our actions may have on our future or our ability to achieve a goal. Ironically, this meme does illustrate that we are aware of struggle. That’s the first step, right? Admitting there’s a problem? But what do we do with that information? How do we reconcile the two – the wanting to be immediately satisfied AND ultimately fulfilled? We realize that we need help. We surrender our will to God’s will.

This brings us to the end of my last blog post {Self Deception} where we are trying to figure out what God’s will for our personal health and fitness is.

Personal will power is a strong force and will likely achieve many personal gains. With will power, you can accomplish lofty goals and you can achieve many smaller victories as well. Will power is what helps you turn down dessert and lace up your sneakers. It will enable you to buy more fruits and veggies and log more exercise minutes. The thing about will power though, is it is inherently flawed. It is not long-lasting. It is not sustainable. Not because we don’t want it badly enough, but because we are flawed humans with a limited supply of will power and with a skewed perspective on what is best for us. Undoubtedly there will be times when you hit the snooze button too many times and miss your workout; when you can’t refuse the decadent desserts; when you lie to yourself and say another piece won’t hurt and one bite leads to an entire pizza. Overindulgent behavior is not because of a loss of will power, or a temporary lapse in judgement. It is because of misplaced power. When we rely on ourselves, we will fail. Every single time. Romans 7:19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing”. This was written by Apostle Paul, who is arguably the best missionary and kingdom worker for Christ. When I take this passage out of context, I can get discouraged. If Paul couldn’t even make the right decisions, how can I ever begin to think I can? But looking ahead a few passages to verse 25, I am reminded it is not about me and my will power, or even my desire to do good, but rather it’s about Jesus and His power in me; “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Phew. I can almost hear Paul’s heavy sigh of relief.

When we rely on God’s power and His will, we win. God’s will trumps will power every single time. We cannot expect contentment in our personal health and fitness if we are relying exclusively on our personal will power. His will for your personal health and fitness is to stop making it about you and your gains, but instead make it about Him and His glory. He created you to love and serve Him with all of you – everything you are, including your health and fitness. He commands us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second commandment is this: love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these”.  Mark 12:30-31

We cannot put our health and fitness life in a box that exists outside of God’s will for us. It is not something we can control or chase alone and feel contentment, gain satisfaction or reach a point we are comfortable with. But existing within God’s almighty and powerful will accomplishes more for our earthly and eternal good than anything we could do alone. He tells us that “godliness with contentment is great gain”. (1 Timothy 6:6)

Everyone is looking for great gains. Whether that be in muscle development, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility or general health. The recipe for such gains is spelled out clearly. Gains for personal glory will not satisfy. Gains because of our complete rest and surrender to the power of God’s will are GREAT. Those are the only gains I want to concern myself with. 

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