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Before You Post that Sexy Workout Selfie

By: Kristen Clark

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:

  1. Deep down, why do I want to post this picture?
  2. What am I hoping to accomplish by posting this?
  3. Who will this selfie glorify most: God or me?
  4. What will this photo inspire others to do? Then what?
  5. 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?

Photo Credit

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girl defined conference
Radical Purity

19 Responses to Before You Post that Sexy Workout Selfie

  1. Virtue says:

    I’ve never taken a workout selfie… I agree with you though! I memorized that verse 1 Timothy 4:8 a while back, that helped me a lot! I do workout… but it’s mainly for my back and shoulders.. I fell and hurt myself when I was 14 and ever since I still have problems.. I have caught myself wanting to workout and look “better”.. but now my goal is to take care of myself for Christ and future hubby! But like I said that verse was so eye opening! I’ve learned that before I physically workout i need to spiritually workout!! I don’t need to lose weight.. I’m 16 height 5.3 and weigh 115.. I think that’s a good weight.

  2. lovemydognc says:

    Thank you for posting!

  3. Chelsea Ejimakor says:

    Nice post, Kristen. It inspires a lot of girls and women to think twice before posting selfies

  4. Shanae B says:

    I literally didn’t get email or social media until I was 20 and even though I have a smart phone I really don’t take selfies (let alone post them) very often, so this isn’t much of a struggle for me. But I know many girls and women (including a sister) who do or have struggled with this. So many ladies misplace their value/worth and feel a need for earthly validation and such from this or other ways (i.e. boyfriend, etc). Thanks for posting this! 🙂

    • Virtue says:

      Don’t have fb Instagram or any of those other ones… I have email podcasts and blogs… only text one friend (Don’t really have others) and our texts are scattered.. I enjoy not having the temptations of those things. I hate pics… lol
      My question is, do you ever wish to just get it or is it something that your just not interested in?
      Just wondering, thanks in advance.

      • Shanae B says:

        By ‘it’ do you mean selfies? If not let me know! I have a FB and that’s pretty much it for me with regular social media profiles. I have posted selfies on it periodically. But never a sexy one because I’ve been particular about modesty since I was a little girl! But pictures or posts even if it’s a Bible verse or a picture with family and friends could be used for selfish ungodly validation depending on the state of your heart or your motive for the post. Like with the Bible verse one are you wanting to bring godly encouragement to others or do you want likes and/or comments? In a romantic and/or non romantic way are you wanting a particular person to see/respond to it? In my early twenties I totally had a few posts and/or pictures I’d put up that were in no way bad, but I wanted people to notice and like them so I could feel some level of importance or something. Hope that answered your question! 🙂

  5. Heather Brainard says:

    So thankful for this post. Love that it is not judgmental but spot on in making everyone who reads it truly evaluate their motivation. Too quickly we allow culture to shape our morality becoming spiritually blind to our sin. Every part of our lives every day needs to come under the gospel. It is for this we were created and in this will we find true contentment.

  6. Heather Brainard says:

    We need to take these same questions to the gym when we workout in regards to what we are wearing.

  7. Kjames813 says:

    I don’t post workout selfies. I am still trying to begin working out and lose weight. I am 5:3 and stuck between 148 and 150 pounds. Anyone have advice?

  8. Joining says:

    I used to post selfies like that in order to share what I do and friends/people to get to know me better and build a better friendship/to be interested in my life. But I noticed one day, that not one friendship was better because of any picture at all. People that are interested in meeting/talking to me in person do it anyway, but not one became closer because of any photos. That’s why I don’t post them anymore. I’m actually glad that I’mmotivated to work out at all. BUT Kristen you have a point. Would be nice to not concentrate on every inch of my look/muscles but to do it just because of god and to feel good… So I give it try, and take your advice!

  9. Shanae B says:

    I’m one of the only people who use FB for it’s original intent and purpose, to connect with family and friends! I have a lot of relatives. I have a 35 year old friend who isn’t interested in social media either. Sorry about your brother, that’s hard. But yes we ladies who believe this way are very few. Which makes me very thankful for sites like this one where we can connect outside of social media! 🙂

  10. This is so convicting! Thanks for sharing this, I think I really needed to read this!

  11. n says:

    so are we not allowed to do anything if it’s not purely for the sole purpose of serving the lord?

  12. Trebeju says:

    Girls, it’s okay to love your body. It’s great to look in the mirror and tell yourself “hey, I look good! I worked out well!” You CAN be proud of yourself for being healthy, and being proud of yourself is a healthy thing. Don’t shame yourself for being proud of the results of your hours of workout, please, just be happy with it and be free of guilt about the way you see yourself because it is normal and healthy!

  13. Renata de Aquino says:

    Thank you for this post! ❤️ Praise the Lord.

    And girls, the DEEP QUESTION here is how is our heart concerning our bodies. This post is not talking about a new sin that came up with technology or social media. It was there, in our hearts, the longing for receive glory.
    And yes, everything is for God’s glory. That’s why our hearts are beating. And God, as our creators, knows what is the best way to live a life that praises Him: FIRST with our HEARTS and souls, and later, as a consequence, through our thoughts, behaviors, clothes, friendships, relationships, emotion. SOLE DEO GLORIA. To Him all the glory!

  14. Frosso says:

    I agree so much! We should only glorify god and not our bodies, only GOD deserves our LOVE. We should only serve god and our husbands who leads us to the right path to eternal life!!

  15. Erika says:

    Hi Kristen
    Thank you so much for the post. Something I struggle with is kind of what @Trebeju talked about. When the day comes when I’m in a great mood, and I’d look in the mirror and just think I look amazing and have a beautiful body, I would kind of feel bad for being proud of myself, if you know what I mean. Is it vain? How do you find a balance between loving yourself just the way God made you and being vain and proud?

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