October 19 - Diet and Exercise
Many Christians are into healthy lifestyles and that is a good thing. It is important for us to take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit by living healthy lives. To be healthy, diet and exercise are essential. I have seen quite a few going on special diets, eating healthy by avoiding certain foods that can be potentially harmful. Diet fads of one kind or another have flooded the market and we have seen them come and go. If you talk to different people, they are convicted about their choice of food intakes. Exercising is also a huge consumer market, with health clubs, gymnasiums and workout classes all over the place. Are you into diet and exercise like many others?
It is interesting to see what Paul had to say about diet and exercise. He was quite concerned about the health of Timothy, even to the point of suggesting the use of wine because of his weak stomach. As far as dieting is concerned, he did not agree with those who, out of devotion to deceitful spirits and demonic teachings, had forbidden marriage and required abstinence from food. This kind of dieting is a religious observance dedicated to the worship of the demonic and Paul objected to it. He declared all foods are created by God and to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving for it is made holy by the Word of God and prayer.
As for the issue of exercise, Paul said, “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” He is comparing the training of the body with the training of the spiritual life. Exercise does have some health benefits but our spiritual health must be our first priority. Attention to our body can only last this lifetime but training in godliness can last to eternity. The results from these two training are obvious.
Paul was not telling us not to diet or exercise, he was reminding us to set our priorities. Many look at dieting and exercising as their priorities to the neglect of their devotion to God. I have seen many who spend a lot of time and effort into doing both. If diet and exercise become our gods and we cannot do without them, we are in danger of idolatry. If your motivation to diet and exercise comes from a fear of death, doing either would not help your spiritual state. The fear of death can bring us under the bondage of Satan, you do not want to have a healthy body but at the same time lose your spiritual freedom. Do you eat right and exercise regularly? Make sure they are your servants and not your masters. Whatever you do, the pursuit of godliness takes priority. Listen to what Paul has to say.
Ps 118:1-4 Jer 33:1-34:22 1 Tim 4:1-16 Prov 25:23-24