Life's Greatest Pleasure

"People will be lovers of themselves." --2 Timothy 3:2

Read: 2 Timothy 3

I happened to run across one of those motivational posters this weekend. You know, the kind with those powerful statements meant to inspire you to be all you can be. Well, even though it wasn't exactly new to me, this one caught my attention nonetheless. It said, "The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you can't." Evidently, people agreed because it had about a million "likes" underneath it. And why not? Who doesn't want to show the world? But then it dawned on me: How many times someone has actually said to me, "Jimmy, I don't think you can do that." How 'bout you?

You know, if there's one thing I've noticed about the fitness industry it's that there's a self-placed chip on its shoulder and the delusion that someone is daring to knock it off. For whatever reason, Godly confidence has been replaced with a harsh, in-your-face tone, backed up with visuals. That topic demands a week's worth of devotions on its own but let me take it further. Even if it was true -- even if the world placed bets against one's "ability" to be do something, in fitness or otherwise -- is proving the world wrong really life's greatest pleasure?

"If man says I can't, and God says I shouldn't, I'd rather show Him than show them."

The correct answer brings me a long way to this point, and one that we try and get across at PrayFit: Let's not take so much pleasure in doing what others say we can't. Let's instead take pleasure in doing what God says we can. If they intersect, great. If they don't, even better. Besides, if man says I can't, and God says I shouldn't, I'd rather show Him than show them. But God runs this body. If you're jumping through hoops of comparison or climbing mountains of ego, stop. Drench your day in the gospel. The taunts and dares around you are subject to Jesus.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Can you spend so much time in the gym or counting calories trying to "prove" the world wrong (whoever that is) that you actually miss what God is calling you to do with the health you're building? What if the world said, "Believer, I bet you can't invite a perfect stranger to church. I bet you can't give to the homeless person on the corner. I bet you can't be modest." If that's what the world said we couldn't do, I wonder if we'd try to prove it wrong. Would it help us if we realized those things are God's will already? Share your thoughts below.

ONE-MINUTE LESSON: CRUNCH Build abdominal strength by mastering this do-anywhere exercise

In 2014, many of us will be trying to get in better shape. We'll be training our bodies to lift more, run farther, swim faster, jump higher. But no matter the demand we are placing on these bodies, a strong set of abdominal muscles is of paramount importance but maybe for a different reason than you're thinking. Infusing your abs with strength and endurance helps you to do all of those other things that you were counting on doing better this year because all roads pass through your core. A fitter middle means greater success, literally, in everything else. The crunch is a great move to get you started. Here's how to get it right.

http://youtu.be/bSarSds5Whg

Crunch | Focus: Upper abs

Lie face-up on the floor with your hands cupped gently behind your head (do not pull on your neck). Keeping your knees bent and with your feet flat on the floor, crunch your upper body up until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Squeeze your abs then lower yourself back to the start and repeat.

TIP: New to crunches? Try performing 15 slow, controlled repetitions for 3-4 total sets. Rest 30 seconds between sets. If you're more advanced, try setting a clock by your work, starting at one minute of continuous crunches and adding 10 seconds every workout.

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