This month we've been talking about being Fit 4Faith. Should it really matter in marriage if we're physically fit? Maybe it shows a husband is shallow if his attraction to his wife is influenced by her health of physical condition. Likewise, maybe she's focusing on the superficial, if a wife's feelings are affected by her husband's physique. Real love shouldn't take into account how "fit" we are. Right?
We were walking to the car after a coffee/restroom (how's that for irony?) break while traveling last week, and we passed a slick Corvette. "Why do Corvettes always look so shiny?" JoHanna asked. (If you are expecting something spiritual here, please stay with me ;) )
"People who own cars like that wax them a lot."
"Why? We don't wax our car."
"Well, I guess it's because they're a collector's car, something special, of great value. They love 'em, so they wax 'em & make 'em shiny."
"I like our car. It can pull things, and we can camp in it."
Caring for something of value says "This is precious," and it encourages respect from others. And I don't even really like Corvettes. People who consider their cars of great worth take great care of them. And when others see how well treated they are, they tend to walk around them, be careful not to hit them with their own car doors, and admire the "shine of love."
Proverbs 31 isn't a description of an actual woman, but a composite of godly qualities. It actually tells us that a godly woman is physically fit. She still lives in a fallen world, so she isn't Wonder Woman, but she clearly takes good care of herself, and as she does, she's able to be an Excellent Wife who is so hard to find:
- v.13 - she has eager hands = She's productive.
- v.15 - she gets up early = She knows how to get ample rest.
- v.16 - she plants = She's known for meaningful moving.
- v.17 - she works "vigorously" and "her arms are strong" = She has strength & stamina.
- v. 25 - she is clothed w/"strength and dignity" = Read the chapter; it isn't just character!
- v. 27 - she isn't idle = She's productive, not lazy, not making excuses.(See v.31)
- v.30 - she fears God = She's a follower of God. Today she would read His Word, pray & know Him.
This is a picture of a fit lady, and she inspires us (the endless varieties of us in endless kinds of shapes and bodies) to value qualities that make for an excellent woman. True love should HOPE for the best, PERSEVERE in striving to be fit for Faith, PROTECT the health and wellness of the loved one, and want TRUTH in life, not EVIL. (1 Cor. 13:6-7) I fall into "evil" physical habits sometimes. That's not loving.
Should FIT matter in LOVE? From looking at God's Word, part of love is caring about FIT in my own life and in my mate's. When a person seeks a mate, how we treat our own body says a lot about how we see ourselves, how we'll care for a spouse, and how fit we'll be for the opportunities of the future. Physical fitness does matter in marriage, and that doesn't mean a spouse has a shallow or self centered love. Corvettes are shiny because they're waxed, and they're waxed because they're loved. (Let me add a note here: Just like a classic car owner, the focus on appearance can become an idol, and an owner can begin to see their identity as depending on the condition of the object of love. Even in marriage, the body of one should never become the idol of another or a means of leverage, control, intimidation, or pressure. That is NOT God's picture of being Fit out of love for another.)
A Corvette that looks good on the outside is disappointing if it doesn't have the engine inside to match the promising appearance. If it doesn't handle smoothly and have power, the attraction would be challenged. True lovers wouldn't give up on the rare prize, though; they would restore and refurbish it back to .... FITness, so they could enjoy it for a long time.
Real love does care about "Fit." Nearing home, we passed a gas station where an Old Model T was being towed behind a car like ours ... one that can pull. ;) The Model T looked rusty and dirty and could clearly not run on its own. Not surprisingly, two men wandered over to admire it. The proud owner pointed out features and smiled proudly. It's not just the outer appearance that makes a car (or a woman) one of great value. The owner obviously knew it was a vehicle "hard to find," one of great worth, one he loved, and one he would bring back to being "Fit 4" life again, so he could enjoy his treasure.
- Is your physical Fit-ness saying what you want it to say about you?
- What does your physical Fit-ness tell your spouse about the treasure you are?
- Are you physically taking care of your husband like he is of great value to you?
If I had to classify myself, I definitely wouldn't put me in the Corvette category, but I can pull! Whatever model we are, let's be Fit 4Faith so we honor God with our bodies and, in doing so, we give the best of ourselves to the earthly spouse who calls us his own.