Faith with a Workout
It all started with a prayer. One night, whilst holding my fat rolls and praying for the umpteenth time for a weight loss miracle, I looked up to the ceiling and prayed, “Lord, I know the fat won’t just melt away, I put it there, I need to work at it, but if you will help me get past the roadblocks in my mind, I know I can do it.” You see I was 34 years old, 19 stone in weight with many weight-related health complications knocking at my door. James 2:17 states, “Faith alone without works [or a workout] is dead.”
Literally the next day, my wife encouraged me to sign up to a gym. Also, I discovered a TV programme which gave an understanding of what food does to the body. I knew that I had to begin a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise habits. As I began to set small goals and continually moved the goals to ensure I was challenging myself, I lost four and a half stone in six months!
This March marks five years since my journey began and I can say that with active faith, God uses what seems impossible for his glory and brings about unforeseen results. From being the guy intimidated by all the “elite” athletes, all muscle-bound, at my gym I began to be the go-to guy for tips and advice. At first, I was baffled, but then I realised that a number of the people in my gym weren’t necessarily comfortable with themselves [like I wasn’t either] as something seemed to be missing. I realised that they recognised in me something different and I think it was the love of Jesus.
I began a new prayer, “Lord help me represent you and your love at my gym.” Not too long after that prayer, people’s curiosity began to heighten with the question, “What do you do?” For years, I shied away from that question for fear of rejection. I believed a lie that people were not interested in God and if I told them I am a Christian, let alone a minister, I would definitely become the odd one out. With the nudging of the Holy Spirit, I mustered up the strength to say, “I am a pastor.”
The responses were more of intrigue than rejection. You see, I spent time building not just my body, but a relationship with those I now call friends at my gym. Today, when I go in the gym, nearly everyone knows me and wants to speak to me. New staff are introduced to me and I have even become one of the advertising personalities for the chain of gyms in the area! I have shared my love for God and his love for the world with everyone regardless of their beliefs, ethnicity, age, etc. Nothing like having a group of guys or gals around you pumping iron or in class or on a rowing machine all the while having an open conversation about life and God.
For two years, I prayed for a guy named Andy and the opportunity to share with him the love of God and the hope found in Jesus. His life had become desperately complicated; he was ready to end it. Well, he joined my gym. I knew God was up to something. After a few months of him sporadically coming into the gym, he came in one Monday morning which changed his life forever. Long story short, we had an open, honest chat about Jesus, he opened his life and heart to Jesus and he has never been the same – he began to live! Faith with a workout.
Article by Aaron Hornback, Founder and Director of HHN, written for Direction Magazine April 2016.