Christian Living


The Spiritual Discipline of an Award-Winning Body Builder


I always knew Kim Reaves liked working out because I would frequently see him trotting off to the gym on his lunch breaks. But it wasn’t until recently that I learned that this upbeat, energetic man of God is not just a serious athlete, but a competitive bodybuilder and active fitness trainer.

After dedicating an entire year to intense physical training, Kim Reaves won his first bodybuilding competition in La Maddalena, Italy, in 1999 at age 27. Since then, and without the use of steroids, Kim has won a total of 15 trophies and has held the title of “Best Poser” several times in bodybuilding competitions. He is currently pursuing credentials as a professional bodybuilder through the National Physique Association (NPA) and pursuing certification as a personal trainer through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

On November 5, 2005, Kim competed in the All American Challenge, a bodybuilding competition through the National Physique Association, in two categories -- Men's Medium Height Open, and Men's Medium Height Masters (age 35-40). He placed first in both categories.

When Kim isn't working or competing in bodybuilding competitions, he is fitness trainer to some 14 clients.

I talked in length with Kim and was especially interested in hearing how his faith in Christ has impacted his approach to fitness. What follows are his inspiring thoughts.

Is there a spiritual way to prepare for a bodybuilding competition, a mental way to prepare?

In spite of however many years I have been doing it, every competition I am always nervous. But I do a lot of praying. I have fasted before. I talk with other people. I try to prepare myself mentally as well as spiritually by getting into the Word and trying to have peace within myself about it. The last show I did a couple of Saturdays ago, on November 5, when I got to the place of the competition [the All American Challenge, through the National Physique Association], I opened up the door, I stepped my left foot out, and when it touched the ground, I said, ‘Lord, You said where I tread my feet is my territory.’ I got out speaking the Word. See, to me that was building me up. It gave me that confidence to know, OK, if God said He is going to do this, He is going to do it. All I have to do is let my faith kick in and believe it.

Well, you have to test it, too, like Peter did on the water. You have to get out of the boat.

Faith without works is dead, so that’s one of the things that I always do is really put my trust in God. I am not saying that I don’t waiver sometimes in my faith. When I see these guys, everybody at the competition, they are always covered up with the sweatpants and sweat shirts. Even looking at them in their clothes, you can tell pretty much that they are still fit. So I use the story of David and the giant. I say, OK, I am not only claiming my territory, but I am going to possess the land. There are giants in the land. I look at these competitors as giants, and I am going in the spiritual realm to take the “heads” of giants like David did. It’s my trophy. It’s just a spiritual way of looking at things. That is just how I manage to keep peace within myself.

You’ve got to beat your fear. The first time you get into that situation, you don’t know how you are going to react. I guess if you do it often enough, you will see the pattern and say, ‘Oh, be quiet. Hey, I have been here before, so it doesn’t matter.’

You do because if you have a tendency to worry, it has a tendency to drain you; it makes you tired. It is a spiritual warfare thing. I do it because I have a passion for it. I do it because that is a calling that God has placed on my life. At the same time, it should be fun. It shouldn’t be something that I am stressing about. It should be something to where just because I am cutting certain things out of my diet, I am not fussing at my wife or yelling at my son. If it ever gets to that point, then I don’t need it. God keeps a balance with me. It’s to bring glory to Him. As long as I continue to put God first, seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness, everything else is going to line up, everything else is going to fall into place. That is the way that it has been. It is God’s will for us to go from glory to glory, but there has to be a balance there. That is still something God is teaching me, and I have to be willing and obedient to adhere to what He is telling me. I am seeking Him constantly for wisdom. If you have wisdom, oh man, you can achieve anything. People perish for a lack of knowledge, and to me, knowledge is a lack of wisdom. So that’s what I seek God with as far as wisdom, how to eat, how to not dehydrate myself when I am about ready to pass out on the stage, just a lot of stuff.

I was reading today in the Bible where it says not to despise it when God disciplines those He loves. I read that and I think sometimes, ‘Ah, Lord, I don’t want to be disciplined.’ Was there something you really had to work through where you felt God’s hand of discipline, where you sensed, ‘Get with it, Son. This is what you need to do. It might be cold outside, but I expect you to get out there and run’?

He says anything that you put before Him is a god to you, and that’s what the whole Bible and me training had become to me, really literally a god to me. I could go to the gym and put a good two or three hours in the gym and not give God any time. Again, that balance. God spoke to me, ‘If I wasn’t giving you the strength, or the capability of doing this, you wouldn’t be able to do it. Now, you doing this is because I have given you grace, I have given you that talent, I have given you that gift to do this to bring glory to Me. You are putting all of this time and energy into this. What about giving Me some time?’ That right there is something He dealt with me for a long time. And still to this very day, I haven’t totally done that because I am striving for that perfection. He said the great work that He started in us He is going to finish. He is making me into what He is calling me into.

I was thinking while you were talking about the Scripture story of Samson. You had talked to me about wisdom and how he was very strong but not very wise. That was his downfall. I think it’s good that you learned that early enough. Samson learned it kind of late.

That’s another thing I am into—‘Lord, show me who is for me.’ He will do it. ‘Show me those that are for me. Connect me with people that are going to be a part of this vision that You have given me.’ That’s the thing, just trusting God and knowing that He is going to do it, having the ear to hear and to know His voice and to do what He says to do.

We want to make things happen sometimes when we have the talent and we see the opportunity and we look at our age and we look at how much farther we have to go. The Bible says don’t be hasty and miss the way. We do when we try to make it happen. That is such a hard balance. I don’t know if you struggle with that.

I get antsy and anxious for it to come. I want it, and I want to see this thing come quickly. But God’s timing is perfect. A lot of times I have tried to do things on my own, and it doesn’t work. There have been times where things have been happening so quickly it is overwhelming. It’s like you are in a whirlwind, I kid you not. It’s incredible. I will be, like, oh my goodness, it is happening so quickly! Then He will stop it. Him stopping it is like nothing is happening, but then you miss that feeling and you are ready for it again. But He is saying, ‘Ok, I gave you a taste of what I am calling you into, but now I am showing you that you have got to be patient and wait. At the same time you are waiting, this is that time that you really need to be seeking Me for wisdom on what to do next.’ It’s a growing process. It’s a matter of being patient and knowing that desire that is in your heart, that vision that is in you, that vision is God’s vision. That’s His desire for you. He is trusting you to do what you have to do in order to fulfill that calling.


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