Theology and Fitness

After my somewhat whimsical post the other day about fitness I would like to share a few thoughts about theology and fitness. What are the reasons to get into good shape? Why should we or should we not bother? How much is enough? How much is too much?

When I am at the gym I can’t help but noticing certain people who seem to work out several hours every day. I go to work out on different days and at different times of the day, and and there are certain people who are always there. I kid you not.. I think that they must live at the gym or something. They literally spend hours sculpting and perfecting their bodies to get the look they are going for. It’s to the point that they worship their bodies or something. It’s especially sad when they get older. They work harder and harder to try to regain the look they had when they were 25, but it is a losing battle. The god that they worship is made of dust, and sooner or later it will become dust again.

Then of course there is the rest of us. Most people barely exercise at all. Even if they are not overweight, they run out of breath if they have to walk up several flights of stairs. Some Christians even sort of spiritualize their laziness by claiming that they just focus on spiritual things. But that is a mistake. There are some good reasons to take care of your body (without worshiping it):

  1. Your body actually does not belong to you, it belongs to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). You are a steward of His property, and so you had better take good care of it.
  2. Your body and your soul are connected, and one affects the other. The Bible is actually very holistic in how it approaches us as human persons. If you are in poor condition physically it can make you lethargic or depressed and can actually affect your spiritual life.
  3. God cares about your body and will redeem it. Salvation is not only for the soul but for the body as well (Rom. 8:23). The concept of a good soul trapped in an evil body is an idea that comes from Greek philosophy, not the Bible.
  4. God has a purpose for your life, and in order to accomplish that purpose you are going to need your body. It is tragic to have your life and ministry cut short by ill health due to neglect of your body.

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