Disciplining the body is one of the hardest things for people to do, especially for someone who is going through a life change like a new job, new baby, a financial decision, and any number of life situations.
Yet disciplining our bodies and taming our fleshly desires are a required step in our journey to spiritual maturity and a good physical state of health.
At one point in my life, at around age 36, I started losing my confidence. I felt like I was getting physically weak, I was overweight, and I didn’t feel like anyone would want to ever take me seriously because of the way I looked. This, of course, is partly a lie of the evil one to try and hold me back from the purpose God has for me. But, it was somewhat true. Because of my lack of confidence, I was being held back and I was not being impactful.
I wasn’t being as impactful at work, in my home, in my career or in the mission and purpose to share the Gospel.
We all want to be able to work on our mission to spread the Gospel of Christ with vigor and energy until the day we die. Right?
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:12-14 NASB
In our mission to share the Gospel we must often remove the pole from our own eye before helping our neighbor remove the speck from his eye.
If we are struggling to tame our own fleshly desires, how can we help anyone else see a better way?
Guess what, you don’t have to be a pastor, full time preacher or evangelist to preach/teach others. And I don’t want to disqualify myself by allowing my fleshly desires to rule over me.
Though I will stumble Lord, help me not to fall. And if a fall is ever necessary for learning, Lord never let it be so. Let my body be used for your service until the day I meet you face to face.
but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27 NASB
In full context this passage relates to sharing the Gospel with others where they are in life, but not partaking in the circumstance that they are in. We must exercise self-control.
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:23-27 NASB
For me, exercising self-control first started with my food addictions and stress behavior. Setting goals in the app MyFitnessPal was the best thing for me.
Then I hit a weight loss plateau after losing 30 pounds. Why? Because I was getting about 15% of my calories from sugary foods? (sweet tea)
Then I lost another 10 pounds after cutting out excessive sugar. I try to stay around 50 grams of sugar a day, but most days I am under that around 20 grams.
I felt great about my weight loss at that point. And my self-esteem and confidence were allowing me to be bolder in my sharing of the Gospel. Though I know my boldness should come from my faith and the Holy Spirit working in me, and it does. But a little self-confidence does not hurt.
Then I hit another plateau. I knew at that point I would have to hit the gym. Which I didn’t want to do. Having to miss my lunch time to change clothes and make my body hurt was not appealing. But then Eric joined my team. Eric runs marathons and hits the weight room. So now I had a partner to teach me.
It was accountability and expert advice on how to train that moved me on to reaching my personal fitness goal.
I started seeing body changes after about a month that motivated me tremendously. Then comes a goal, run a 5K. I hated running. Why would anyone want to run? I’ve hated it since high school.
Next goal run a half marathon. Check. Run in under 2 hours. Check
But then I set myself another goal. Goals must be achievable but not easy. My new goal was to prove I had abs. I’d never seen them, but I was sure they must exist.
I’m still working at this goal because I’m not satisfied. But I press on. (March 2019 Update: They do exist at about 11% body fat and under, I’m currently at ~10%)
But the ultimate goal is to extend and invigorate the mission I have to share the Gospel for as long as God has me in this flesh tent.
Now what? Well, now I want to help others reach their goals.
In the winter of 2019, I began studying for my NASM Certified Personal Trainer test. And in the spring of 2020, finally after the Covid lockdowns end and allowed the testing centers to open, I am now a Certified NASM Personal Trainer.
And my mission is to help other men, like me, to achieve their fitness goals, to regain their confidence, and begin Taming the Flesh!