I will never forget the lowest point of my life. I was sitting in a doctor’s office still grieving the loss of my dad. I had made the decision to have some tests run on my heart because of my father’s unexpected passing. As the doctor came in the room and went over their findings with me, one thing kept drawing my attention on the papers that they gave me… I was 45 lbs overweight.
Realizing that I was so much overweight was hard for me to take. I had always taken pride in being a guy who was always in the gym lifting weights. I liked being a strong guy, I constantly had goals of bench pressing more, squatting more, deadlifting more… However, I was faced now with a wakeup call. I was inconsistent with my exercise and my diet was absolutely terrible. I had convinced myself that I was “pretty healthy”, not wanting to honestly evaluate or really even think about the topic much.
What I was now faced with, was not a pretty sight. Worse, it was a dangerous way to live. Worse still, it was ungodly.
*Disclaimer- Weight and health issues are no laughing matter, and some people have other reasons for their battle with weight. My issue was I had no discipline in my diet and I had grown lazy in exercise. Maybe you can relate, if you can, please read on*
Something had to change for me. Something had to change for my family. I had a lot of excuses as to why I was not in better shape. Maybe some of these sound familiar to you:
- I am too busy to work out every day
- I don’t make enough money to eat healthy! Everything healthy is expensive!
- It’s my genetics, it’s just harder for me to lose weight and keep it off. If I just look at food, I gain weight.
- I’d eat healthier if healthy food tasted good!
- I had knee surgery, and now it’s hard for me to do much running, or heavy squats, or lightweight squats, or… (anything else I didn’t really have the desire to do)
- I am more focused on my spiritual well-being than my physical well-being
I’ve said all of those, repeatedly. However, it’s that last one that I want to focus on for a minute. I had convinced myself that I was really ok, because I had a greater and a more important focus than just physical wellness. I would often quote to myself
1 Timothy 4:8to justify my thinking. I am convinced now, that I was dead wrong then. I was wrong on a couple of levels.
Bodily training is of value
Often times, in these discussions people are quick to point out the same things that I would from 1 Timothy 4. The Bible says that bodily training is of some value BUT godliness is of value in every way! Quickly passing by that physical stuff and focusing only on the more important spiritual training. Please hear me, spiritual training is of more value. Because, it not only impacts the life we now live, but the life we will have eternally. This does not diminish the value of bodily training.
God has given us one body. One. We ought to use it well. We ought to strive to glorify God in our bodies. We ought to be good stewards of what has been given us.
You damage your spiritual life, with a lousy physical one.
This is the one I want you to consider deeply. A Christian who takes the approach that our bodies aren’t that important and that essentially everything else is more important than caring for it in a proper way, is not just misinformed, but are hypocrites who are ruining their reputation. I know, I was one. How can we teach people not to be fleshly, self-indulgent people who give in to desires concerning drugs, alcohol, and sexual sins all while living a gluttonous/lazy lifestyle that is spoken about numerous times in scripture? How can we condemn with such fervor some sins of the flesh while ignoring the one we struggle with? The answer, we can’t. At least, not effectively. It is hard to hear someone offer you instructions concerning a matter that they clearly do not grasp. It is hard for people to hear God’s messages concerning self-control from individuals who appear to have none.
I write these things with a couple of goals/desires in mind:
- I hope that someone reading this who can relate to where I was and the excuses I had grown comfortable with using, will snap out of it and get on the ball.
- One of the things that turns many people away from the church is inconsistency. You know, “You need to control your desires!” all while, we are not.
- A reminder for myself to do better.
God does not call us to be professional athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness experts. (Thankfully!) However, we must do all that we can to remove obstacles from people hearing the Gospel. Someone may say, “Well, people shouldn’t be concerned with appearances” and that person would be right. People shouldn’t be. However, people are. Since we know that they are, let us do all we can to remove one more obstacle.
Some will say that there is no need to be concerned with the physical because we are all going to die one day anyways. Those people would be half right. We are all going to die one day anyways (assuming the Lord doesn’t return first). We should still be concerned with the physical nonetheless.
Let’s say with a healthy diet, and consistent exercise you can prolong your life by a few years. What could you do with those few years? How many more hours could you spend instilling faith in the hearts of your children/grandchildren? How many more people could you potentially reach with the Gospel? How many more cherished moments could you spend with your spouse? Not to mention the LIFE you would be adding to your years by living healthier, getting sick less, and having more energy to do what needs to be done.
Let’s be more aware of how we are perceived, and give some thought to our ways concerning our physical health. In all things, let’s try to do better.