A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 1: Biblical Foundations: Human Body, Fitness and Care 3 The body doesn’t matter. The Creator God made all things and sustains all things. He has made all things for his glory (Ps. 19:1-2) and with a purpose to glorify his name, including us (Isa. 43:6-7). Thus, everything about us matters, including the bodies he has given to us. From the very beginning of creation God made his people, made in his image, as embodied creatures (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7, 18-25). What he ordained that we do, he determined would be done as a people who would do so in a physical body. To strengthen this point, one need only look at the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The God-man took on flesh, demonstrating his full humanity, and dwelt among us (John 1:14; Phil. 2:5-11). In his resurrected state, Jesus appears to the disciples in his glorified embodied state (Luke 24:36-43), and someday when Christ returns we will see him and be like him as he is, namely, glorified and embodied (1 John 3:2). Thus, one can see that God made us with a body, our glorified state will be embodied, and, therefore, God deems that we exist with bodies, which gives purpose to this aspect of our created being. What I do with my body is disconnected from my soul. This notion often comes up when people consider themselves in a dichotomous way, where all that really matters is the spiritual and not the physical. While we are made up of both material (body) and immaterial aspects (soul/spirit; these terms are often used interchangeably), we affirm that the Bible depicts us as essentially holistic beings. We should not depreciate the value of our physical bodies. They are neither evil nor unimportant as there is continual interaction between our body and spirit (Prov. 17:22). Christian growth includes all aspects of our lives, as we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27), cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1), and be sanctified completely in both body and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Thus, while the body is distinct from the soul, one cannot minimize the importance of either nor relegate the essence of our humanity in some way that divides one aspect from the other in terms of their intertwined reality. Exercise doesn’t matter. If, as seen in answer to previous questions, Godmade us as embodied beings and the bodies we possess are able to be used in worship of God (Rom. 12:1-2), then the stewardship of our bodies matters. Our bodies are meant to be used for the Lord and his purposes (1 Cor. 6:13), and when we put them to work for his service, he delights in it. We are to love God with our mind (Luke 10:27), and studies have demonstrated that regular exercise improves alertness, attention, and motivation. In other words, exercise can encourage the peak use of our minds so our thoughts can be in the best form to love and glorify God. We are also to love the Lord with our strength. We should use our body’s ability to glorify God, and this can be enhanced and improved through exercise to use that might for his name’s sake. While not guaranteed, as we do not know the days God will give to us (Ps. 90:9-12), exercise can bring about a greater amount of time with greater effectiveness to minister to others and