I believe that the most important question to ask regarding fitness is often glossed over because the answers seem so obvious.
This question is “why?”
Most people could easily tell you why it is important to take care of your body through proper nutrition and exercise: it will prolong your lifespan, you’ll enjoy a greater quality of life, you’ll look better, you’ll feel better, you’ll experience a greater sense of self-worth, etc.
While some of these are true, are these the primary reasons we should care about taking care of our body? As Christians, our answer should be a resounding “NO!”
The Bible, God’s Word, should be the essential starting point for understanding why it is important to take care of our bodies. I have written an article discussing several of the verses and concepts that can apply to our fitness. While the article isn’t exhaustive, I prayerfully hope that it will be of some benefit to my fellow believers.
Here are a few additional thoughts [Mouse over verses to see their text]:
Like Paul (), we should be disciplining our physical bodies, knowing that they are temples of the Holy Spirit () which shouldn’t be defiled by physical sins (sexual sin, gluttony, laziness, etc.). We should exhibit self-control in all areas of our lives as we seek to honor God (), knowing that a lack of self-control can lead to destruction ().
It is also important to remember that godliness is more profitable than physical exercise (), and fitness is not our chief goal in life. This truth should be understood without using this as an excuse for being lazy and undisciplined.
I believe that there is far greater joy in disciplining a body out of a desire to honor God and be equipped to serve Him in any capacity () than there is “getting fit” for lesser reasons. Although better health, appearance, and zest for life are good benefits of physical discipline, we should strive to honor God through the process, knowing that He is ultimately in control of the outcome (). Despite our best efforts to take care of our bodies, it is certainly possible that God wants to use us and sanctify us through the difficulties of sickness or disease.
As we present our bodies as living sacrifices (), I pray that we will reap not only the physical benefits of a disciplined life, but more importantly, that we will reap the spiritual benefits as we seek Jesus ().
Honoring God through our bodies isn’t about being the fittest, most attractive people on the planet. It is about being a wise steward of every resource God has given us, including our bodies, and asking Him to make us more like Him in every area of life.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (ESV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)
28 A man without self-control
is like a city broken into and left without walls.
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (ESV)
21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (ESV)
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (ESV)
12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)