Total Health and Fitness

In order to achieve our maximum potential in Christ, we must develop “balanced lives.” Physically, our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and should be “living sacrifices” –– totally committed to the Lord in every aspect for His honor and glory. Mentally, our minds are to be renewed by God’s Word –– transformed by His Spirit as we bring every thought captive to obedience to Jesus Christ and as we focus and dwell on that which is true, honorable, and praiseworthy. Emotionally, we must replace destructive emotions such as hate, revenge, bitterness, pride ... with the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace .... Spiritually, we are created in God’s image and are to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, walking in the Spirit, manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, and operating the gifts of the Spirit.

May our desire be to serve the Lord wholeheartedly our whole life with our whole being –– body, mind, and spirit.

The first and most important principle of health is to trust in the LORD. Seek Him each day –– preferably as the first thing you do. Find wisdom and strength for your day and your life in His Word and by His Spirit.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:7, 8).

Words of Wisdom from Paul and John

Many Christians seem to believe that exercise is of very little value. They base their opinion, in part, on what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Don Colbert, M.D. comments on this verse in his book, What Would Jesus Eat?:

Biblical times were vastly different from today with regards to people’s need for additional “bodily exercise.” When Jesus walked the earth, most people walked from three to ten miles a day in the course of their daily lives and work. The people did not need to engage in additional exercise. Extra exercise was usually only done in the Roman Empire to increase muscle size and strength for participation in spectator sports. Certainly Paul valued physical health; he simply believed that getting bodily exercise for the purpose of engaging in sports was not as profitable as using one’s time and energy to develop spiritual strength.

In respect of Paul’s inspired words to Timothy, I spend the majority of my time (approximately 40 - 60 hours a week) in Bible study, prayer, and ministry and a minority of my time (about 4 - 6 hours a week) exercising and working out.

The apostle John wrote,

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1: 2).

Therefore, my priority is making certain my “soul prospers.” As a result, the Lord has blessed every area of my life and given me seemingly unlimited energy to accomplish the vision He has given me. My prosperity is not wealth and riches but a peace and joy that transcends the circumstances of life.

God looks at the heart, so I attempt to keep my heart totally committed to Him and as pure as possible. Man looks at the outward appearance, so I take care of my body as I seek to walk in discipline and self-control to be a more effective witness and continue the rigors of ministry and mission trips.

When the world sees how our faith in Christ positively impacts every aspect of our lives –– physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually –– many will want to know the Christ we serve. We will also have increased energy and vitality for accomplishing His will.

A simple biblical principle that has proven to be of immense value to me is: “Focus on the spiritual, but don’t neglect the physical.”

Dynamic Exercise

Some people tell me they do not have time to exercise, but I do not have time not to workout –– as it always seems to increase my energy to accomplish more throughout the day. The physical, emotional, and even spiritual benefits, as well as the increased potential, makes these few hours a week a wise and necessary investment.

I usually get up at 6:00 a.m., and after Bible study and prayer, workout. I usually workout six days a week for approximately 30 to 60 minutes each day. The various workouts I have designed consist of stretching, balance, strengthening, and cardiovascular exercises. I also get some great exercise doing outside work at the ministry center.

Discipline, self-control, and dedication are vital elements for a successful fitness program. Your goal should not just be to get in shape, but to stay in shape by making health and fitness a lifetime commitment. Since 1965, when I was in the seventh grade, I have been involved in some type of exercise regimen.

Consuming more calories than your body uses will result in weight gain. This occurs because the thrifty body stores the excess in the form of fat. A combination of reducing calorie intake and burning excess calories through exercise and increased physical activity is the best way to lose weight. If your weight is satisfactory then exercise to tone, firm, and condition.

As you shape up your body, the miraculous temple of the Holy Spirit, you will receive numerous health benefits such as having more energy, feeling and looking better, being less prone to injury, dealing with stress more effectively, and having a better attitude, just to name a few.

Junk the Junk

If you do not die prematurely from an accident, violent crime, or childhood disease, the choices you make and the things you do will have a direct bearing on when and how your life terminates. The stresses of life from your job, finances, and relationships, as well as your exposure to environmental pollutants, the type of food you consume, whether you exercise or not, lifestyle choices such as using or not using alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, whether you engage in immoral behavior, if anger, bitterness, despair, and hopelessness or love, forgiveness, peace, and joy dominate your thoughts and emotions ... all accumulate over the years and contribute to determining the quality and length of your life on this planet.

Proverbs 14:30 informs us that

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Proverbs 17:22 tells us that

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”

Dr. Don Colbert shares the following interesting account  in his book, What Would Jesus Eat?, after observing people at a breakfast buffet at a large hotel in Las Vegas:

[T]he typical person who ate from the high-sugar, high-fat table tended to be overweight, with more puffiness around the face and eyes, and generally stooped shoulders and a more sallow complexion. These people tended to appear more tired, with a lower general energy level.

On the other hand, the people who chose food from the table with fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and yogurt seemed to be thinner and more energetic, had better complexions and posture, and seemed all around healthier in appearance. 

That was an eye-opening experience for my wife. From that day on, she began to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. We drastically reduced our intake of fast food, junk food, and highly processed foods. We not only improved our physical appearance, but our energy levels also soared. By choosing to eat the foods that Jesus ate, we turned our diet of empty, useless, and often disease-aiding calories into calories full of health-promoting vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, minerals, fatty acids, and enzymes. 

One of the first steps towards health is to junk the junk. In other words, remove foods containing chemical colorings, preservatives, pesticides, refined sugars, unhealthy fats, as well as sausages, meats, and poultry laced with chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics from your diet. 

Greater Health through Biblical Principles

A healthy lifestyle of exercise and nutrition, as well as following the Creator’s example and instruction of taking one day off a week to rest and rejuvenate is crucial. To neglect doing so is a sure path to physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.

From personal experience and studying the topics of health and fitness for many years, I am convinced that Scripture contains superior principles for obtaining maximal physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The Bible reveals the ultimate way to gain health in this life––and the next.

Practical Ideas for Optimum Health

Developing good health habits will reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a host of other health related problems. The following are a few practical ideas to help you obtain optimal health.

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It strengthens leg muscles, benefits the heart, and has a calming affect. Walking is nature’s tranquilizer and is good for our emotional, as well as our physical, well-being. I love walking while on mission trips and at our local park with my wife as we pray and quote Scripture.

A peaceful night of sleep will regenerate and revitalize. A 10-minute nap can help restore energy, promote performance, and enhance learning.

Relaxation and meditation on the Word of God are vital. Lying in a hammock on a warm summer day after a busy ministry schedule is a great opportunity to rejuvenate my spirit, renew my mind, and refresh my body. Biblical meditation is superior to any form of Eastern or New Age meditation. (There is an eternity of difference between meditating on the words of the living God and the various methods of Eastern and New Age meditation which often involve vain repetitions of a mantra, chanting a meaningless word or phrase, focusing on a mere object, or the total emptying of one’s mind. Besides, with the conscious mind shifted into neutral during meditation, the meditator may become a channel through which deceiving spirits can work by taking advantage of the person’s state of passivity and nonresistance.)

We also need to evaluate our eating habits. First Corinthians 6:12 states, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” Just as putting inferior fuel in our cars leads to poor performance, filling our bodies with junk food leads to poor health.

Keep your system free of as much toxic food and pollutants as possible and you will feel much better. Eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) refined sugar, white flour, and greasy fried foods which provide empty calories, clog arteries, and cause other health problems. Be sure to read the labels of the foods you are purchasing. The less chemical preservatives, artificial colorings, flavorings, and sweeteners the better.

Make wise choices and eat healthy foods as much as possible. I attempt to eat mostly organic food which I am able to buy less expensively than others pay for their junk food. A principle I try to follow as much as possible is to avoid food that man has tampered with (cooked, refined, added chemicals) and eat food the way God created it (as raw and natural as possible). Our meals should include foods which are rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and other vital nutrients found in fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, whole grain breads and cereals, legumes, and beans.