Fitness as a Spiritual Discipline

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “spiritual discipline?”

Things like prayer, corporate worship, Bible reading, and other similar activities probably come to mind. It’s easy to group these things together, and think they comprise the whole of spiritual discipline.

However, the Bible paints a different picture. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

All means all. What does this imply for us? It means that everything we do in our lives becomes a spiritual discipline. One aspect of life we often overlook as a spiritual discipline is our physical fitness.

Think about the poor health, obesity, chronic illness, and other epidemics in the Western world today—especially America. Do you think Christians have been fully stewarding their fitness as a spiritual discipline? I’ve personally known several friends and family who are strong and faithful in the Lord; these individuals have forever impacted my life and my walk—however, they’ve neglected their physical health. They don’t take care of their bodies, or balance their ministry and careers with exercise and other important practices.

Earlier in the book of 1 Corinthians, we read this powerful statement from Paul: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (6:19-20). While we most often take this verse to be in context, referring to sexual immorality, it also applies to overall physical health.

Our bodies are not our own. One day, when we stand before God, He’ll ask us to give an account for everything we were given to steward. He’ll ask us what we did with our finances; our material possessions; our time; our relationships; our skills…and He will also ask us what we did with the body He gave to us.

What will we say on that day?

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