Friday, February 26, 2016

Every. Body. Matters.

What if I gave you a machine that would sustain your life?  A machine whose complexity was almost unimaginable.  And what if  I told you this machine will take care of itself and even fix itself as long as you give it the right fuel and maintenance?  If this were the case, you would certainly understand that you had a big responsibility that needed to be upheld.  What's interesting is, even thought it would be tough to find someone who would disagree with that, it's almost tougher still to find many people who take much responsibility for their own physical body.  Which is, of course, that complex machine I'm speaking of.

Recently I read Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas.  The quick version of the review is that it gets 5 stars.  But, let me tell you why it's so easy to give those 5 stars.  Simply put,  it seems to unlock the mysterious connection between body and spirit, just as the sub-title "Strengthening your body to strengthen your soul" implies.  Let me share a few quotes from the book to paint the picture. (Disclaimer: this book was written to Christians, who are the majority of my readers.)

"We are not angels, pursuing God without physical covering, and if we try to pretend we are - living as though the state of our bodies has no effect on the condition of our souls - all the proper doctrine in the world can't save us from eating away our sensitivity to God's presence or throwing away years of potential ministry if we wreck our heart's physical home."

"For most of our lives, we've emphasized growing our souls, not always realizing that a lack of physical discipline can undercut and even erode spiritual growth."

"The reason I want to get in shape, then, the reason I long for God's Church to get in shape, is not to impress anyone, not to make others feel inferior, not to demonstrate our own personal discipline and self-control.  God forbid!  On the contrary, it is to become, as Paul writes, "instruments for special purposes made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."

I'll stop there for the sake of time, but there is so much motivating truth, I just want to ask you to read this book.  Let me tell you this quick story to illustrate the need for and the value of a book like this.   The other day I was texting with a friend who pastors a local church here in Tulsa.  He asked me about this book because he saw I was tweeting quotes from it on an almost daily basis.  I told him about it and I told him about FitPastors, an organization that has helped me and could help him get holistically fit. Once I told him all about FitPastors, he made a great statement.  He said, "Cool.  I know the "how to" options are there.  Gotta have the "want to" that overcomes the want of food. Seems like this book may attack that!"

He was exactly right.  If you're struggling with your weight or if you're struggling to be physically fit, this book is for you.  If you're one of the many who believe physical fitness has little or no value, I would challenge you to read this.  It may change your perception.  And that change in perception may change your life.  I know it's changing mine.  What's stopping you from taking a potentially life-changing step?


Unknown said...

I find this whole culture that someone has to be in perfect shape to be a decent person very annoying and now the notion that you have to be perfect shape to be a decent Christian is downright disturbing. I tried to make sure I got "fit" and worked very hard to put my body back in ideal shape with the right foods and exercise. I had trainers and nutritionists involved and failed to see the results I expected. The whole process quickly became self-serving, self-idolizing and self-defeating. The harder results were to achieve, the more obsessed I became, driving myself and my family crazy. So I quit. My body is just fine the way it is even if it doesn't look "fit". And you know what? I spend a lot more time reading my Bible now that I don't "have to" go to the gym. Maybe I am confused. Maybe I'm ignorant. But telling someone "Hey, Jesus forgave you for all your sins and you can have a relationship with Him now, but since you're so fat and/or weak it won't be very good. Can't you see that you're not good enough for a quality relationship with Jesus like I am?" That just doesn't sit well with me. It doesn't sound like the Jesus I know. I may have missed it, but I can't find Jesus' workout routine or recommendations for us. I haven't seen "Blessed is he who runs the marathons."

Jason Fitch said...

Hello, unknown commenter. I can definitely relate. I've felt the same frustrations you're expressing. The intent of my article and the intent of this book is not urging anyone to be in perfect shape. Nor is it Jesus loves you more if you are. The love of Jesus and our salvation in Him are quite separate issues from our physical health. The intent here is to urge Christians to embrace the fact that we are both physical and spiritual beings and to embrace the implications of such a fact. I would encourage you to give this book a try. It does address the issue of physical fitness obsession like you addressed in your comment. I wish you well and hope you can see the positive intent here