Grace and peace my B.A.S.I.C. (Brothers And Sisters In Christ). It’s been a minute since I’ve wrote a blog because I have been focusing on boosting my online platforms by posting videos and various things on social media (CLICK HERE). About a year ago the topic of physique / bodybuilding competition came up and after searching the web I found no suitable or actually just a lack of resources speaking on the topic. So my desire is to shed some biblical light on the topic. That may help others who have similar questions.
I am a firm believer that we speak where the bible speaks and remain quiet (no dogmatic instruction) where the bible is quiet; however we use biblical principles to help aid in our decisions. People of all walks of life have their opinions, but at the end of the day, what really matters is what God says. In this blog, I will attempt to shed some biblical light on the topic and answer some of the questions that are usually posed at such “engagement.”
Isn’t Judging A Person’s Body Wrong?
It is clear that Scripture emphatically teach us not to judge people’s appearance, but what does that really mean?
John 7:24 “look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly”
1 Samuel 16:7 “people judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
The Scripture frowns upon judging of appearance that leads to making assessments about a person’s character, skills, qualification, etc. When we look at someone and state that they couldn’t “fit the part” based on their appearance then we are in error.
Making assessments about appearance isn’t necessarily wrong, if this was the case we would all display unified looks. However, every person wants to feel pretty or look their best, isn’t this why so many put on their “Sunday’s Best?” We live in a nation that loves creativity, fashion and diversity. I also think it’s interesting that one assessment we gauge our presidents by is, ”does he look presidential?” Often in the church community we even want our pastors to look a certain way by where he lives, what he drives, or the clothes he wears. Pretty superficial, don’t you think?
I also want to point us to the first family, when Eve was presented to Adam he made a very quick and emphatic visual assessment….WHOA…MAN! Or how about Rachel and Leah, the bible calls one’s face and figure lovely and the other “weak eyed” (lol).
So making assessments about a person’s appearance isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s when our assessments lead to discriminatory actions that becomes a huge problem.
Isn’t it immodest to compete or be half dressed?
How about a question such as, is it immodest to wear swimming trunks without shirts? I believe the modesty question is something each individual has to answer themselves. A person should seek the face of God and truly ask for his wisdom as it pertains to what is modest or immodest. Now let’s be clear that it also is a motive issue, because some people are immodest with the intent to turn heads, flaunt what they have, or make someone “desire” them. Personally, when I go to the swimming pool I wear trunks with no shirt, and because of the environment I think nothing of others who are in their attire. This is something I want to call “activity appropriate attire.” If someone wears a bathing suit to the store, it is inappropriate for the activity they are engaging in. They stick out like a sore thumb. Now I am not saying that all bathing suits are appropriate attires, there are many who wear things that illicit the wrong thoughts, reactions, and possibly interactions. However, standing on a stage in swimming trunks becomes less impactful because it is the “appropriate attire” for that activity and no one thinks, hey he is in inappropriate attire for such activity.
I would also like to add, if we have a problem with such actions why do we entertain them in others areas. We celebrate Christian pageants, boxers, swimmers, surfers, etc who also are 1) judged by their craft 2) are showing more skin than just an arm, leg or neck.
Don’t you think it is vain to compete?
With this argument, it is vain to compete in any sort of contest, leads a person who steps in a Christian step show, plays an instrument for a competition, etc to be in violation. Couldn’t a person argue that a simple melody is suffice? Why include color, runs, and other skillful elements with their display of God given talents? Often people display their skill sets not in an attempt to honor and worship God, but to showcase how good they really are. Whenever our motives for fitness, competition, or being highly skilled at something is to point back to you as “you are the best,” therein lies the issue. In Paul’s analogy concerning the Isthmian games (1 Cor. 9:24-27) he states that those who run do so in order to win…Notice he didn’t reprimand the idea of competition or receiving a prize, rather he embraces it and gives us a spiritual lessons within it. Competing isn’t the issue, but self glorification is. We have to be very careful not to seek the worship of the created, but always point people to the Creator. If you can honor God in any activity you engage in, Go For it, however if you cannot it is wise to stay away from it. There are some actions you simply can’t glorify God in, because they are in direct violation to His word; such things like pornography, selling drugs, stripping, etc.
I will conclude my thoughts by saying, competition is up to a person and their motive. There will always be naysayers and people who object. Just like there are people who object to utilizing a genre of music. Just because you are a believer doesn’t mean you have to abort all personal desires, but make sure you are delighting yourself in the Lord so much that your desires mirror His. John Macarthur states, “ If you are doing all five of the basic things, (saved, spirit filled, sanctified, submitting and suffering for Him), do you not know what the next principle of God’s will is? Do whatever you want!”
Like anything in life, we can become obsessed and it can be idolatrous. Just remember that whatever you do in word or deed, do it in the name of Jesus being sure to give Him thanks (Col. 3:17).
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
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