Bend, Stretch, Flex, Repeat (a spiritual perspective)

exercise-cartoonOkay… so most of you have been reading my tweets & facebook statuses and know that I started working out regularly back in August. And I’m lovin’ it! (This is a miracle of God, by the way.) But I have to be honest and tell you that it hasn’t been easy to stay consistent.

I took on this new lifestyle of fitness after the Lord was prompting me to be a better steward of my physical body. The majority of my family has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, my dad had a triple by-pass and my grandmother died of hardening of the arteries. As of today I have no signs of heart disease and I felt like God was telling me that in order to fulfill my destiny, I needed to start taking care of my vessel so I could “run the race.” But like I said, it hasn’t always been easy. For as you know: “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NIV)

So I had to approach this new venture in my life in the same way I approach a fast. I had to really pray about it in advance and make a solid commitment in my heart TO GOD that I wanted to do this in obedience to Him. And just like when you’re on an extended fast, there are days you feel like you “just can’t do it” and it’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that you can maintain and stay committed. Well that’s how I’ve had to handle this commitment: through dependence on the Holy Spirit. And He has been faithful to give me the strength I need to do this.

Ahhh… but of course Mary can’t do ANYTHING without getting spiritual about it! So in the midst of my workouts the Lord has been ministering to me about the correlation between the physical and the spiritual. And while they are both important and what I am doing is necessary, it’s our “spiritual workouts” that are most important. (And we do them many times without even realizing it. In fact you’re probably in the midst of a spiritual workout right now. I’ll explain in a minute…)

For instance, Paul wrote to Timothy and said:

But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things… This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.  (1 Tim 4:7-9 NKJV)

So I began to think about some things we do in physical exercise and how by maintaining a spiritual perspective we can “exercise godliness” in the midst of our difficult circumstances. Check out these terms and read them from a spiritual perspective. Can you sense God using your current circumstances to do some of these things to you right now? HE LOVES YOU TOO MUCH TO LEAVE YOU THE WAY YOU ARE!


  • to force from a proper shape
  • to force back to an original, straight or even condition
  • to guide or turn toward
  • to adapt to one’s purpose
  • to direct strenuously or with interest
  • to make submissive
  •  to incline the body in token of submission


  • to extend in length  
  • to cause the limbs of (a person) to be pulled especially in torture
  • to draw up (one’s body) from a cramped, stooping, or relaxed position
  • to pull taut
  • to enlarge or distend especially by force
  • to extend or expand as if by physical force
  • to cause to reach or continue
  • to amplify or enlarge beyond natural or proper limits
  • to expand to fulfill a larger function
  • to become extended in length or breadth or both
  • to extend over a continuous period
  • to become extended without breaking


  • to bend especially repeatedly
  • to move or tense by contraction
  • to use or demonstrate < as in flexing her skills as a singer>


  • exercise involving pushing against a source of resistance (as a weight) to increase strength
  • use of a force to cause one to incline in a particular direction by manipulation
  • a system of conditioning especially for strength and endurance

Can you see how you can “exercise godliness” by maintaining a spiritual perspective during times of difficulty and uncertainty? By recognizing that God is sovereignly in the midst of your situation and working all things out for your good, you can GROW and MOVE FORWARD in your walk with God rather than be tossed to and fro like a ship on the sea. Remember that God is using these difficult circumstances to “flex” your spiritual gifts so that you can be equipped to use and demonstrate them for His glory! And just like when we’re physically working out and don’t feel like we can do ONE MORE “CRUNCH” or ONE MORE “SQUAT”, we must remember that spiritually, God is allowing our current circumstances to STRENGTHEN US and teach us ENDURANCE and He will get us through it!

For it is written regarding Abraham:

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Rom 4:20-22 NIV)

Therefore, I will close with the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Colassae, and know that I too am praying for YOU to be “filled with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (a spiritual perspective), so that you may see your circumstances through His spiritual lens and endure and be strengthened in the power of His might…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:9-14 NIV) 

Blessings to you!


About Mary L'Esperance Held

One Response to Bend, Stretch, Flex, Repeat (a spiritual perspective)

  1. danniwrites says:

    What a great post! Please know that it will difficult everyday, as you have to make the choice to workout. I lost 80 lbs last year, and am working on losing 65 more this year and everyday I have to decide to get to the gym and push myself. I love the scriptures you used; and your definitions of Bend, Flex, and Stretch. AMEN MARY-AMEN!

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