Fitspiration vs godliness | Teen Life Christian Youth Articles, Daily Devotions

Fitspiration vs godliness

Spending time at the gym is not as important as growing in godliness!

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You’ve probably seen photos. Perfectly sculpted abs. A before and after picture of a stranger’s butt. Back views. Small to large. Flat to round.

Images like this are supposed to bring about female empowerment. They are supposed to be the solution to eating disorders, bullying, and low self-esteem. 

But what impact do they really have on our identity? 

It’s what’s on the inside that counts 

Ultimately, the impact of “Fitspiration” depends on your heart.

To this day, I follow multiple Instagram beauty bloggers and fitness ambassadors. In the past, I used these images to motivate myself to eat healthy, cut out soft drink, and get myself to the gym before school. 

And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be stronger, or make healthier life choices, there is a problem when it becomes the most important thing in your life. When your happiness is dependent on the width of your thigh gap or the shape of your body. When you find your identity by comparing yourself to someone else’s physical appearance on a screen. 

The Bible has a lot to say about Fitspiration

Not that the Bible predicted the rise of social media hashtags… but the Bible does warn us against having things in our lives that are more important to us than God. 

While idols in the Old Testament are generally statues or other gods, for us, idols are more subtle. If being strong or healthy is more important in your life than God is, fitness can be an idol.

But the Bible does have something positive to say about fitness and physical training as well. 1 Timothy 4:7-10 says: 

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

This passage teaches us that while there are some things we should stay away from, there’s also a plan for physical training. Paul warns, have “nothing to do with godless myths.” 

Myth to run away from #1: your worth as a person is defined by the width of your thigh gap.

Myth to run away from #2: the perfect six-pack will somehow bring happiness. 

However, he does say that physical training has “some value”. But watch out—it’s of only limited benefit! It’s the training in godliness that is valuable both in the present and the future. 

Instead of finding his hope in his appearance or strength, Paul places his hope in “the living God, who is the Saviour of all people.” 

If you are someone who believes Jesus died to bring you back into relationship with God, training in godliness should be the most important thing in your life. Because the perfect body—if it exists—won’t satisfy you in this life, and it won’t last in the life to come. 

What will last, and will satisfy, is your relationship with God. So, godliness is the thing we should be striving towards. 

Should I delete Instagram and quit going to the gym? 

The short answer is yes—if it’s disrupting you from growing in godliness.

For me, it means I don’t work out in the morning if I won’t have time to read the Bible afterwards. It also meant unfollowing a bunch of Instagram personalities, and it meant I stopped taking progress pictures.  

I still enjoy feeling strong and healthy, and beating my personal bests, but my prayer for you (and for me), is that the enjoyment of working out always comes second to the desire to grow in godliness.