Today, one in two Colorado adults are overweight or obese. If current trends continue, nearly ⅔ of Coloradans will be overweight or obese within the next six years according to livewellcolorado.org. Also, according to the site, adults need 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week to receive health benefits- that’s 5 hours weekly! Further, we should all eat smaller portions including fruits and vegetables. Anyone feeling convicted!
The above is amazing, especially since in Colorado you can’t go anywhere without seeing dozens of fitness centers, hundreds of miles of bike paths, and of course, our mountains!! So, what’s the big deal?? And what does this have to do with following Christ? What talk about this in church?? Because we need to ask and answer the question: “How fit is my life… physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually?”
Let’s start with PHYSICAL FITNESS! Being overweight or obese is not about vanity—it’s about your health! It means you’re at an increased risk for developing many health problems and diseases, such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and many more, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. FURTHER, being overweight is among the top three preventable factors for early death in the U.S.
Doctors determine being overweight based on your BMI (Body Mass Index). There are many factors that determine your BMI, weight and body fat. This includes genetics and family history, environmental factors (such as where you live and work) and lifestyle behaviors. While factors like family history cannot be changed, there are many simple ways to begin to change your eating and physical activity behaviors to reduce your risk for health problems and disease.
My family genetics are BAD- heart problems, high blood pressure, acid reflux, cancer, diabetes, bad cholesterol, and slow metabolism, etc. I’m doomed!! 15 years ago I weighed 50 pounds more than I do right now! I had all kinds of health issues and I was preaching and telling people to be disciplined and live right and I was a hypocrite- I still believe this- Pastors don’t need to look like an Olympic athlete, but we do need to exemplify disciplines for life!
How fit is my life begins with my physical fitness! Why, beyond the obvious I’ve just shared? Because God’s Word specifically talks about your “physical fitness” and your responsibility to take care of your body!
This isn’t about your “appearance”, which I talked about last week- this is simply about your health and wellness, and being responsible for taking good care of the body God gave you!
1 Cor. 6:19-20. Now in the context of this Scripture it’s talking about sexual purity; but we can certainly expand on it. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You don’t belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
How do we “dishonor God with our bodies?” Maybe the answer is found in Jesus’ words in Mark 14:37 “For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Say it: “The body is weak!” “A girly man!” That tells us there is a battle going on inside us; there’s conflict and struggle because of our sin nature, etc.
Paul talks about this in Rom. 7:15 “I really don’t understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do what I hate.” How does that translate over into our physical life? “I know I shouldn’t eat all 12 of those donuts, but…” “I know I should work out or eat healthier or not pollute my body, but…” But the body is weak! How do we overcome? Well, Paul goes on to say, “Thank God the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom. 7:25
The problem is that we Americans are incredibly undisciplined and short-sighted. For example: Sun tan today, skin cancer tomorrow! Super-size meal today, super-size body tomorrow! Smoke today, lung cancer tomorrow! Mexican food today… Do you see where we’re going with this? It’s an undisciplined and short-sighted way to do life! And it keeps you from being fit for the life God wants you to live!
So what does “physical fitness” look like?
Feed and Care for Your Body!
Eph. 5:29 “No one hates his own body, but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” What does he do? “Feeds and cares for it!” Truth is, most of us are not honoring God with what we feed our body and how little we care for it!
Do you remember that documentary, “Supersize Me?” This guy ate only McDonalds for an entire month. He gained 10 pounds in one week. After week 3 the doctors told him to abort his mission, but he stayed the course. In the end he gained 25 pounds- would have been more, but he lost muscle. Worse yet, his body organs were starting to shut down. It took him five months to lose the weight and another four months to get his vital signs back to normal!
Fact is, there are two people inside of you- one is telling you to use and abuse your body and the other one is telling you to feed it right and take care of it. “The spirit is willing but the body is weak!”
Listen I know what I’m talking about! As I said… I used to weigh a lot more than I do now and I know all about all the fad diets- the “fatkins” diet, “weight waddlers,” the “seafood” diet- see food and eat it! You have to decide how you’re going to feed and care for your body- God’s Word says we have a responsibility!
Cayla training for track- that’s one thing. What are you, or can you train for? Lower your cholesterol? To feel better? Lose 10 pounds? Avoid acid reflux or heart issues?
It’s about discipline. Have you been watching the Olympics? They train to win a gold medal…. or to finish! The Olympics are in the Bible! 1 Cor. 9:24-27. “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
Paul says, “I beat my body into subjection!” It’s the only way to overcome all the urges, the temptations, the indulgences, the means of dealing with emotional baggage, or hurts or pains… But it’s no way out, it’s a trap! And Satan wants to lure you in and ultimately destroy you!
Get Regular Checkups!
Would you drive your car without changing the oil? Would you never change the filter in your furnace? Why would you not take care of your body? Now, I admit, I’m not a fan of doctors or hospitals, BUT, it’s wise to regularly see your doctor! The reason many of us don’t go to the doctor is because of FEAR! We’re afraid they’ll find something! That can be a good thing!
In Mt. 2:17 Jesus validates the role of a doctor- He says, “the sick need a doctor” and that he came to help the unrighteous! So, its’ wise, it’s biblical to go see the doctor on a regular basis and take their advice! It’s unwise to not take advantage of those who have trained to help us better take care of ourselves!
Get regular exercise!
I’m not talking about working your thumb on the remote or jogging to the refrigerator, but getting out and walking or jogging or getting on the treadmill. Doctors will tell you that just 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a day will make a huge difference in how you feel, etc.
I Tim. 4:8 “For physical training has some value…” Yes, training for righteousness is more important, but exercising is encouraged!
Watching the Olympics is both inspiring and convicting!! You and I may never train 4 years or longer for an opportunity to win a gold medal, but that doesn’t mean we can’t exercise regularly to simply be healthy! Of course, we can’t eat like an Olympic athlete either!!!
In the case of American 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, only three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and mayonnaise, followed by three chocolate-chip pancakes, a five-egg omelette, three sugar-coated slices of French toast and a bowl of porridge, washed down with two cups of coffee will do. And that is just for breakfast. Phelps, the most successful Olympic swimmer of all time, consumes around 12,000 calories a day while training!
If you or me did that, ate that much, well… it’s all about BALANCE! Balance your diet with your exercise and your lifestyle! Get some exercise weekly- join a gym, jog, walk the dog, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, ride a bike… and see these as opportunities to connect with your mission field!
Get rid of addictions!
With Christ help, we defeat addictions! 1 Cor. 6:12 “You are allowed to do anything, but not everything is good for you.” Paul goes on to say, “I will not become a slave to anything!”
What’s “mastered” you? Will smoking cigarettes send you to hell? No, but it’ll just make you smell like it! Meds… Overeating then vomiting… How about people on the other side of those things? Just as “enslaved!” Work out 5 times a day, 7 days a week, won’t even smell a pizza!
There’s no addiction that the power of Christ cannot help you overcome and defeat! But you bring that which is dark into the light and allow the Holy Spirit and true people of God help you to live in freedom- healthy and strong spiritually and physically in the Lord!
Rate these: For Physical Fitness I need to…
- Eat better, healthier
- Get a check up
- Exercise regularly
- Quit an addiction