Does God Care About Exercise?

2/18/2008

Exercise is one of those subjects that seems to divide people into three groups. First, there's the health nuts, whose idea of a good time is strapping on a backpack full of bricks and doing wind sprints up steep hills. Then there's the couch potatoes, whose idea of a good time is a bag of chips, an industrial sized tub of French onion dip, and a king sized Slurpee. Then there's the rest of us, who know we should exercise, and even own several pieces of exercise equipment, but never quite find the time to do it.

Everywhere you look, people are telling us we should exercise. But does God care about exercise? Does it really matter to God if I step onto my treadmill?

Nowhere in the Bible will you find a scripture that says, "You must exercise three times a week ( and make sure one of those days is a good cardio work out)." But we do read in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Every minute of our lives is to be lived for the glory of God, and exercise is a wonderful means of helping us live for the glory of God. How? By extending our years of service to God, and by making us more effective in serving the Lord.

Exercise Extends Our Years of Serving God

Have you ever considered that exercise could be the difference between serving God for 60 years or serving God for 75 years? Think about this for a moment. Maintaining a healthy body could result in God giving you many additional years to care for your spouse. Staying in good shape could result in God allowing you to share the gospel with hundreds of additional people. Those endless miles on the treadmill could result in many additional years of faithfully serving your church. Yes, I understand that God has numbered our days. In his sovereignty, God knows exactly how many days we will live upon this earth. But God uses means, and exercise is a means of adding years of fruitful labor to our lives.

Exercise Makes Us More Effective In Serving The Lord

Not only does exercise extend our years of serving the Lord, it also makes us more effective in serving the Lord. The truth is, an unhealthy body can limit our capacity to serve the Lord. Being unhealthy leads to less energy and less stamina, which ultimately limits our service for the Lord. Those who exercise regularly and are in good health are able to serve the Lord and others consistently, and for longer periods of time.

Charles Spurgeon said, "A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind's face would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best"

These truths should dramatically affect our approach to exercise! We don't ultimately exercise for the purpose of losing weight or so that we look good. We exercise for the glory of God. We lace up our running shoes and pound the pavement so that we can serve God effectively for years to come. We lift weights so that at age 65 we can share the gospel with our grandchildren. We go to the gym so that we can lovingly care for our spouse for many years.

So let me encourage you to exercise. Not because it's a good thing to do, but because God's glory is at stake. Think of the future as you go out and jog today.

photo by kk+

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  

14 comments:

Thanks, Stephen. This was a much needed reminder of the importance of keeping the body fit in order to better serve.

February 18, 2008 at 11:22 AM  

Great stuff, Stephen! You've provided the push to hop on the treadmill today, and to not feel "bad" for taking time out to exercise regularly...all for the glory of God!

Hamster said...
February 18, 2008 at 1:21 PM  

Jen,

Thanks for the encouragement my love. You are an example to me of keeping the body fit...

February 18, 2008 at 3:15 PM  

hamster,

Hop on the treadmill and push yourself!

February 18, 2008 at 3:15 PM  

First time visiting your blog. Thanks for your post on a Christ centered view of exercise.

Of course, Spurgeon was himself a smoker of cigars and died at a relatively young 58. ;-)

February 18, 2008 at 9:06 PM  

Every Square Inch,

Thanks for stopping by. I think Spurgeon is a prime example of what happens if we don't exercise. He was afflicted by so many physical ailments and I have to wonder if part of it was because he didn't take care of himself properly.

Of course Spurgeon also far exceeded any ministry I will ever have!

February 18, 2008 at 9:37 PM  

Amazing.... I just got a treadmill today and was sitting here wondering what motivation will actually keep me on the thing when the novelty wears off (in about 4 days). Thank you for your timely and biblical encouragement that goes way beyond what I 'ought' to do. - Lisa

Anonymous said...
February 18, 2008 at 11:23 PM  

Add to that the benefits of fellowship through corporate exercise with your brothers/sisters. I'm looking forward to a round of golf with 4 guys from my church on Friday as much for the time I'll spend getting to know them better as I will hoping that I can hit the dimpled sphere in a roughly straight direction.

aussiekristian said...
February 19, 2008 at 5:19 AM  

Lisa,

So glad to hear the post was encouraging! Sometimes (or many times) I need extra motivation to exercise!

February 19, 2008 at 6:53 AM  

aussie,

Amen to that. Exercise with others is much more fun for me than exercise by myself!

February 19, 2008 at 6:53 AM  

Stephen,

This is great! I don't know if you know but I have a blog about fitness. Check it out if you get a chance! It'll be linked as my name. I will make sure to feature this article! I love it when I see people who aren't in the fitness field and who are Christians encouraging other Christians to exercise and care for their bodies- even if it's minimal. I have a little training program going on right now. I'm going to relaunch it in April so I'll make sure to let you and Mark know more as it comes closer!

With Joy,

Trillia

Trillia said...
February 19, 2008 at 11:37 PM  

Trillia,

SO glad you enjoyed the post. I'll make sure to keep an eye on your blog as well. God is kind to give us exercise isn't he?

February 20, 2008 at 6:37 AM  

When I think of exercise I am always reminded of Eric Liddel's quote from Chariots of Fire. He says, when I run I feel His pleasure.

God is in every area of our lives-- often times, we are just too busy to take notice. Thanks for reminding us to be good stewards over our temples. :)

Jennifer Partin said...
February 20, 2008 at 8:02 PM  

That's a great quote from Eric Liddel. One of my fave's as well.

February 20, 2008 at 8:40 PM  

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