Healthy, Not Unholy – Part Two

In Part One of “Healthy, Not Unholy” we discussed the benefits and importance of physical fitness. Specifically, that exercise is important for physical and emotional health, how it teaches discipline and can contribute to our confidence. Today, I want to outline the potential downside to making physical fitness an important part of our lives.

To understand how the pursuit of physical fitness and attractiveness can potentially lead one away from God, it  is important to understand the meaning of the word “idolatry.” Idolatry is one of those words that immediately stokes the imagination. It may bring to mind images of ancient civilizations and mystic ceremonies where people dance around large statues and make violent sacrifices to strange and exotic deities.

Ok, ok….sometimes I let my imagination get away from me….but while what I described is accurate, it is not the whole story. According to the dictionary, the primary meaning of idolatry is “the worship of a physical object as a god.” As Christians, we do not acknowledge the existence of any deity but the God of the Bible. Therefore, it is accurate to label the worship of another supposed supernatural being or physical object as idolatry.

And God takes a very dim view of idolatry. In fact, He considers it sinful. We know this because He told us so several times. For example, in the Old Testament book of Exodus, His dislike of idolatry is revealed to Moses as the 1st Commandment:

Exodus 20:2-3

I am The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

Remember, God gave Moses 10 Commandments, but the very first one describes His view of idolatry! In verse 5 of the same chapter of Exodus, God elaborates further:

Exodus 20:5

5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. Continue reading

Healthy, Not Unholy: Part 1

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I have a confession to make:

I’m into physical fitness.

That’s right. I exercise regularly. I do it for many different reasons.

I use the word “confession” to make a point: some Christians may believe the pursuit of physical fitness, health and attractiveness are not worthy goals for Christians to pursue. While I disagree with that position, I admit their concerns can be legitimate in some cases. In a series of three posts I would like to explore:

Part 1) the benefits and importance of physical fitness

Part 2) the potential downside to pursuing fitness

Part 3) the reasons we NEED to put effort into our physical well-being in order to be more pleasing to God.

Let’s look at the positive impact exercise and fitness can bring to our physical bodies as well as to our spiritual lives. Paul’s choice of a sports metaphor in the quote from 1 Corinthians 9 was not accidental.

Exercise is Beneficial to Physical Health

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