How Do You Glorify God Through Exercise?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

How do you glorify God through exercise?

I wrote an article one time titled How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God, because Paul said, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). So I better be able to answer this.

Here are some ways that exercise glorifies God:

1) It fosters gratitude for legs, heart, and lungs. The older I get the more keenly aware I am of how fragile I am. And every breath I take, if I were able to maintain consciousness of truth, I would give thanks to God that he has given me these.

So as you put on your running clothes and shoes and hit the pavement, you say, "God, thank you so much that I can walk, swing these arms, run with these legs, and that my heart is pumping and my lungs are working. This is a sheer gift from you and I wouldn't have it any other way."

2) What are your motives in doing it? If your motives are so that you can eat chocolate bars without getting fat (because you have an addiction to chocolate), that's not as good a motive as the desire to be both mentally and physically at peak performance for Christian ministry. You want to glorify God by your motives.

Jogging, as most people know, does good things for the brain, so that you don't get as depressed when you exercise. It also does good things for your body, so that you can use your body more fully for God's glory.

So gratitude is one way to glorify God, and being rightly motivated is another way.

3) A third way to glorify God through exercise is how you do it. How do you dress when you do it? Are you decent? That would glorify God rather than being indecent. Do you knock people down when you're running? That's not a good idea. Do you make noise getting ready and always wake up your wife so that she doesn't get enough sleep?

In other words, are you exercising in a loving way? Is it evident to people that it is not vanity but a carefully thought through attempt to honor the Lord?

4) Finally, do you have an eye to turning it into ministry? In other words, can you draw somebody in with you who needs some help with their discipline? Are you willing to stop along the way to help somebody, like the good Samaritan? Are you willing to do some evangelism along the way so that you stop and share Jesus. Is it ministry?

Those are some ideas for how something like jogging could redound to make God look great. And that's what "glorify God" means: make God look good, like he really is.

Thumb author john piper

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

© Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines

Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Website: