Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Duty to Exercise

Thanks to everyone who took note of my engagement notice and responded. What happy days these are. The blessings of God often are a long time in coming. When they do come, all the frustration, loneliness, and anticipation are worth it. Praise the Lord for His providing grace.

Today we begin a few days' worth of commentary on a subject that evangelicals have, frankly, ignored. This is to our detriment. It is sad that Christians have by and large neglected the matter of fitness. We believers in Christ have a troubling tendency to forget about this world and focus almost entirely on the next. Such action leaves us imbalanced, unhealthy, and, well, out-of-shape both philosophically and physically. There is no reason that this ought to be so. Sure, we should primarily focus on the spiritual. We are a spiritual people who believe in the reality of a sovereign God who holds our eternal destiny in His hand. He has called us to follow Him without hesitancy, to treasure His word and ways, and so we do. But in calling us to a spiritual life, He has not urged us to somehow shed our bodies, to leave this world behind. He has not told us to disdain the body, as so many of us do, but to live all of our lives for His glory. Colossians 3:17 tells us whatever we do to "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." Surely, this includes the major and the mundane, the physical and spiritual, the eating of food and the working of faith.

Why, then, have we not seen this? Why do so many of us disdain care of our bodies? There are a variety of reasons. First--we are busy. Adults know this. Yeah, it's something of a fact that most adults who work and have a family are busy. It's a fact of life in America. Our busyness causes us sometimes to neglect important matters. Exercise, which busy people have to fight to do, often gets pushed to the side. Also, exercise is hard. It requires time and energy. Who has that? We have families to feed, jobs to work in, and churches to serve. By the time we arrive at home from these duties, we're wiped, and there's not much left in the tank for a rousing, healthy workout. So we don't. Finally, as mentioned above, exercise is inherently physical, and many evangelicals simply don't pay much mind to physical things. If I wasn't a Christian, I might be tempted to think that Christianity downplays the body and the life of the body. Many Christians don't play sports, don't exercise, and have little association with people who do. This is unfortunate. We who are redeemed, who have come to see the glory of God in everything, who have come to see the importance of stewarding all things well, should first and foremost take care of our bodies. We are spiritual, yes. But we are also physical! In coming days, we'll examine this situation a bit more. It's an "exercise" that might do us some good.


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