In the mid-19th Century the American evangelist, D. L. Moody paid a visit to the renowned English preacher, C. H. Spurgeon. Moody bordered on the obese and Spurgeon enjoyed his pipe. During their visit, Moody gently chided Spurgeon for smoking a pipe. In response, Spurgeon leaned forward, and with a wry smile poked his pipe into Moody’s belly.
Does the Bible address the issue of physical fitness? 1 Timothy 4:8 makes this point:
“Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things.” Literally: Physical training has value for a few days, with little application outside its own discipline, while training in godliness has extensive application.
It is interesting to observe that the preponderance of Scriptures dealing with health draw a strong correlation between inner peace and soundness of body. For example:
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7, 8)
It is difficult however, to imagine Jesus being out of shape physically. Certainly Luke 2:52 gives us a clue as to the balance in His life in the mental, physical, spiritual and social realms:
“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
As Christ’s Ambassadors, does it not stand to reason that we should take care of His temple in such a way that we are attractive to the people we are attempting to win? Certainly a reasonable, disciplined approach to physical fitness is an appropriate step in that direction.
(2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19)
On a personal note: In 1969 I returned from Asia physically shot at age 33. To regain my health I slowly and determinedly involved myself in a swimming program, and have over these years continued to sustain a fairly demanding regimen. I have observed that in my life there seems to be a direct correlation between physical fitness and maintaining a sharp spiritual edge. At age 62, the dividends I’ve reaped from staying physically fit are much more than I could ever have imagined.
QUESTION: What are you doing to maintain your “temple” in a manner that is honoring to God?