By Pauline Bachayaya
In any discussion about Christians and physical fitness, we should begin with Paul’s comparison in 1 Timothy 4:7-8: “On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Life in general is physically demanding.
We can find movement all through the Bible: most occupations started out with agriculture, people traveled by foot, fought with their hands, and made a living with very little technology.
Jesus himself was a carpenter, a manual laborer; He and His disciples traveled and ministered on foot, hiked mountains to pray. We must not forget that worship itself is primarily physical.
Worship is physical
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster states that throughout Scripture, we find a variety of physical postures in connection with worship: lying prostrate, standing, kneeling, lifting hands, clapping hands, lifting the head, bowing the head, and dancing, among others.
The point is that we are to offer God our bodies as well as all the rest of our being. Worship is appropriately physical. We are to present our bodies to God in a posture consistent with the inner spirit in worship.
According to Ekky Newman, a host at Power FM radio and trainer at Mwalimu Fitness Program, God cares about our bodies. Even as we grow in Christ, we must learn to demonstrate self-control.
“Through experience, we can learn self-control and our end goal should not be to draw attention but keep fit for the glory of God’s name,” Newman says.
We need to broaden the scope of fitness to action, such as walking forward or turning back in repentance, lifting joyful hands or bowing sorrowful knees.
Fitness is not just going to the gym or running. Fitness is the act of following Jesus for joy, though there is need to strike a balance because physical exercise has its importance.
Martin Amanya, a Christian and also a team leader at the Mwalimu Fitness Program, says equally as the spirit has to be fed, the body needs its food.
“We must pay attention to our bodies and cater for them. Physical suitability enables us to fulfill the great commission,” he says.
Our bodies are teleological, meaning God designed them to move.
Because your body is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), it is your responsibility and mission to maintain a temple that enables you to carry out your Father’s work in His kingdom. We are the only beings with a body, soul and spirit.
There is good reason for Christians to develop and maintain a generally healthy lifestyle by eating right and engaging in regular exercise.
God has given you a body to use and enjoy during your time in this life. Our bodies were designed by God for physical activity. Muscles, organs, and even bones deteriorate with excessive inactivity or misuse.
As Paul said in 1 Timothy 4 and 1 Corinthians 9, the most valuable exercise of self-control is not related to physical exercise, but that which produces godliness through perseverance. Perseverance is a vital aspect in our Christian walk.
Staying ready for usefulness
Your present role in serving God may not require physical fitness. But what if an opportunity arose for you to serve in a more demanding setting? Wouldn’t it be better to stay ready even if never needed, than to be needed but not ready?
Your body is the instrument you use to love and serve others. Loving others by meeting needs often requires a bit of physical exertion. We can serve other physically weaker brothers and sisters with our bodies
Success depends on saturating ourselves in the truth and letting the Holy Spirit move us in our strengths and abilities (to form a fitness plan).
If you feel the Lord tugging on your heart to lean more onto Him in your own wellness journey, ask yourself, so what is hindering me from making a change today?