In his new book, “GODFIT: Through Love Serve,” John Hayden writes about exercise — both physical and spiritual.
This six-week program offers exercises and devotionals that use four pieces of equipment — your body, kettlebells, dumbbells and a Bible.
The book also offers a password to access online videos that demonstrate the moves.
In addition to the physical workouts, each week considers a different spiritual discipline — solitude, meditation, prayer, simplicity, study and service.
While not an in-depth book, Hayden does offer starting points on several topics, including workout music suggestions using contemporary Christian musicians along with meal and snack ideas. The book also has a leader’s guide.
Why is physical fitness a spiritual issue?
Physical fitness is a spiritual issue because it allows us more availability to take action on the calling God has for each of us as his disciples. It allows us to be in harmony with our spirituality and recognize the gifts God has given each of us. Improving one’s physical fitness is also expressing obedience to our father-respecting his temple.
What do you say to Christians who don’t think this is important?
I tell them that it is hard to deny the fact that God calls us to take care of our bodies in order to serve his kingdom (1 Cor. 6:19-20). I tell them that one of the main benefits of exercise is increased confidence, and that your self-perception plays a significant role in stepping outside your comfort zone to share God’s love.
How did you get to the point that you created this?
Sitting in church one Sunday morning, looking around at all the people, I wondered to myself: What would service look like if everyone wasn’t out of shape, overweight and obese? I thought there had to be some validity to that statement. How many people have turned down opportunities to serve because of their current spiritual and physical fitness level? During that Sunday morning church service, I felt the calling to put a program together that encourages individuals, small groups and church groups to get moving, take action and seek opportunities to serve.
People fail diets and quit workouts all the time. What makes “GODFIT” different?
“GODFIT” takes the purpose away from the individual and shifts it onto serving others. When you go through “GODFIT,” you are pursuing how he can use your gifts to glorify God’s kingdom. Inviting God into this process turns exercise into an act of worship. “GODFIT” provides an end goal truly worth pursuing.
How did you choose the spiritual disciplines that are included in the plan?
Making healthy choices and being consistent with exercise takes discipline. Focusing on six different spiritual disciplines for the devotional concept seemed to make perfect sense. I admire Richard Foster and reference his book, “Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth” throughout the devotional component of “GODFIT.”
After the six weeks, where do I go for more devotions and training? Do you have plans for Part 2?
As of now, there are no plans for Part 2. The exciting reality of “GODFIT” is that the program ends with each reader seeking out an opportunity to serve and taking action. My prayer is that the concepts and purpose of “GODFIT” will continue with each reader, and they will continue to choose to stay fit for the glory of God’s kingdom.
“GODFIT” is available for $16.95 through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and WestBow.