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:
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:
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