“…train yourself in godliness, for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
I used to think of this verse when I didn’t stick to my workout routine. “God doesn’t really care if I’m skinny,” I told myself. “That’s just me being vain. The world’s view is ruling my mind.”
Then about six years ago God called me to get a personal trainer. I was going through a 12-Step program and I felt very strongly that God was saying to me, “I’ve started you on this path toward spiritual and emotional health. Now it’s time to get physically healthy.” As I began to work out and learn how to eat better, I saw parallels between my physical workouts and my spiritual journey. Each training session required me to do things I didn’t think I could do. I had to push myself. I had to deny myself. I had to strengthen more than just my body. I had to stop doubting myself and believe I could. I had to strengthen my mind.
Does God care if I’m a size 6? Probably not. But He does care about my habits and what kind of life I lead as a result of them. I want to serve Him to the best of my ability. For me, that means I need to be physically able to go where He calls me to go. I need to have the mental clarity to make good decisions. I need to have the energy to leave work on a week day and go to a place I can serve in the evenings. All of those things depend on my physical health and that depends on how well I take care of my body.
Training of the body does matter. But it does not matter in isolation. I matters in the context of growing and serving others the best way we can.