I’m guilty. I have totally done it. After a long hard workout, I remember snapping a “sexy” picture of myself in front of my bedroom mirror. You know. The kind where you angle your body just right to make your fat disappear and your muscles look huge.
Yep. That was me.
I wanted to see how hot I looked. I wanted to admire my body. Deep down, I was self-obsessed and I didn’t care. I was working out because I wanted to look good. I wanted people to admire my fit body. I wanted other girls to be secretly jealous of me.
The trend of the sexy workout selfie.
Once the boom of social media took off, I quickly realized that I wasn’t the only person taking sexy mirror selfies. I starting seeing mirror selfies pop up all over social media. Girls, just like me, were eager to show off their flat abs and tight rears.
However, as popular and normal as posting sexy workout selfies may be, we as Christian women, should pause and ask ourselves some honest questions.
Since none of us can see into anybody else’s heart, we can’t judge anyone’s motives pure with accuracy.
However, we know our own hearts. We know how sinful and self-focused we can be (Jer. 17:9). We know firsthand what pride is like. We all know what it’s like to post a picture for attention. To wear something alluring to turn heads. To look in a mirror a little too long.
I know, because I struggle with the same thing. Pride. Selfishness. Vanity. As I write this post, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody, but simply reminding all of us to evaluate our heart motives.
Why do we workout?
Before we even talk about the sexy selfie, let’s talk about why we workout. This is the first place to start. If you had to answer honestly, what is your motivation for working out (or why do you wish you worked out more)?
Is your motivation to…
- Stay in shape.
- Take care of your body.
- Maintain better health.
- Avoid certain illnesses and diseases.
- Look better in your clothes.
- Have a better body for your spouse (or future spouse).
If most Christians were honest, they would probably say, “all of the above.” And that’s great! Those are all amazing benefits of working out. I agree.
However, over the past year, I have been personally challenged by how nearsighted these goals are.
A friend actually asked me recently why I am motivated to work out (or why I wish I worked out more). In response, I listed several of those things from above. And that’s when I received some much-needed encouragement and reminders.
I was reminded that as a Christian, I should have a much bigger reason for working out. I should be motivated for something deeper. For something more eternal. Even my motivation for exercise should be fueled by my love for the gospel.
My friend explained that working out should motivate us to have healthy bodies, yes…but not just for ourselves. Not just for our spouses. Not just to inspire people. We should be motivated to workout for two primary reasons:
1. The body is God’s temple and we should take good care of it (1 Cor. 6:19).
2. The healthier we are, the more energy we will have to serve God and advance His Kingdom long-term (1 Tim. 4:8).
As Christians, we know that this earth is passing away. We know that nothing matters in the end except God’s Kingdom. We know our mission on earth is to make disciples and share the gospel (Matt. 28).
With that mission in mind, we should be the most passionate people about staying in shape. Not for ourselves. But out of a desire to have healthy bodies for the purpose of spreading the gospel for years to come.
That’s why 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Now that we see what a gospel-centered perspective on exercise looks like, let’s talk about the sexy workout selfie.
We work out. We feel good. We look good. So…we post a sexy selfie. Here’s the question. If you post the sexy workout selfie, why do you post? What is your personal motivation for doing that?
Is your motivation to…
- Inspire other people.
- Encourage a lifestyle of exercise.
- Promote good health.
- Show off your body.
- Receive affirmation.
- Get more attention.
- Show the world that you can do hard things?
- Keep up your “perfect” persona?
If you had to be really, really, honest…what would you say?
For me, I was prideful, vain, and wanted to look “hot” so others would admire me.
What about you? Even if your honest answer is “to inspire others” or “encourage a lifestyle of exercise,” It probably still misses the bigger mark. If our photos are solely for inspiration, what are we ultimately inspiring people to do…work out? Stay fit? Great. But then what? If that is our ultimate goal, it misses the mark of eternity.
If each of us had to be truly honest, I think most of us would agree that our “sexy workout selfies” aren’t as much about inspiring others as they are about drawing attention to ourselves. Our prideful hearts crave attention. We crave to be noticed. We crave affirmation. We crave our own glory.
In an attempt to get human affirmation and praise, we post.
And then we wait for the likes to come in. I know, because I’ve been there.
As Christian women, we need to recognize that this isn’t what God desires from us. This doesn’t bring God glory. 2 Corinthians 10:17 says, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
We must remember that God is the only One who can truly satisfy us. He is the only one who can give us worth and value. He is the only one who holds our true identity. Our bodies are not our own, they are God’s. We need to humbly evaluate our photos and see where we’re pridefully stealing God’s glory for ourselves.
Before you post.
Before you post any gym selfie pics from now on, I encourage you to sift your motivations through this filter. Ask yourself the following five questions:
- Deep down, why do I want to post this picture?
- What am I hoping to accomplish by posting this?
- Who will this selfie glorify most: God or me?
- What will this photo inspire others to do? Then what?
- Does my outfit and body reflect a heart of purity and modesty?
Instead of posting sexy pictures that draw attention to us, let’s be intentional to use our social media accounts and photos to point people back to God’s glory. Let’s pray and ask God to change our motivation for exercising to be rooted in our love for the gospel, taking care of His temple, and building His Kingdom.
I’d love to hear from you below!
- Can you see how vital a Christ-centered motivation for exercising should be for us as Christians?
- In what ways do you struggle to want to post sexy workout selfies?