I’ve enjoyed working out since college. I have never been interested in playing sports, but for a couple decades now I’ve been interested in fitness. I have run countless half-marathons, and have frequented almost every type of fitness class known to man. Sure I had body image issues, but I was pretty pleased with myself when it came to my athletic ability. But my “athletic ability” was surely called into question when I first started CrossFit three years ago.

Under the direction and guidance of the gym’s owner and the other coaches who work for her, I learned that my squat form was terrible, my push-ups were awful, I couldn’t even do a true strict pull-up, and basically the majority of things I was doing would eventually lead to physical problems with my body. No wonder I was always getting injured exercising!

My husband and I committed about a year to consistently going to CrossFit four times a week, and even scheduled private personal training sessions to really get our form down, particularly for Olympic lifting style exercises. While I still have a long way to go when it comes to strength and endurance, I can say that now my form is accurate, and I am doing the full range of motions. I have finally retrained my body and brain from what they have been doing and thinking for the last 20 years. But how could I have been so deceived to begin with? How could I have possibly been so delusional to think that I was on point with certain exercises, but have been so far off in reality? 

“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12 NKJV

King Solomon tells us in the Book of Proverbs that there is more hope for a fool than there is for a man who is wise in his own eyes. I was examining my physical fitness ability with my own eyes, so according to my own standards I was doing great. But I was self-delusional. When my fitness was put to the test by the experts, I was not where I thought I was. 

Such can also be the case in our spiritual lives. We can go along doing what seems right – sometimes even for decades as it was for myself – but when put to the test, our delusion becomes exposed. 

“For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:3 NKJV. The Bible teaches us that when we examine ourselves with our own mindset, we deceive ourselves. We are prone to thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3), and  we justify the desires of our flesh by convincing ourselves we are “right” or “deserving” of whatever our hearts’ desire (Galatians 5:16-18). 

Just as a CrossFit coach had to open my eyes to where I was in physical fitness, the One True Teacher must open your eyes to where you are in your spiritual fitness. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, can we truly examine our spiritual state. 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV

If you seek God, He will examine your heart and show you where you are pleasing to Him, and convict you in areas where you need to repent. He is a perfect Father who disciplines us to lead us in holiness and righteousness (Hebrews 12:7-11). But you have to humble yourself, approach His Holy Word with meekness, and allow His Spirit to correct you (2 Chronicles 7:14). 

No matter how difficult it might be, allow the Lord to lift your veils of deception and reveal the true spiritual state of your mind and heart. 

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but panful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 NKJV


– Tiffany Gustafson

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