In the book of Leviticus, in giving the commandment to His people not to consume the blood of animals, He [the Lord] gives a revelation that would take many long years for mankind to really understand; “For the life of the flesh is in the blood:”.
The blood, now spiritually applied to us in the death of Christ upon the cross on Calvary, is necessary for life. In the flesh, it carries oxygen throughout our bodies and ensures our muscular system can function. In our spirit, the blood [His blood] is the atonement for everlasting life. So if the blood is so important, why are we neglecting it?
Honestly, if I got paid every time I have heard I Timothy 4:8 misquoted, my gym membership would be paid for life!
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” – I Timothy 4:8, KJV
And, in my one sarcastic moment in this post, it was almost always oversized people saying that the implication here by the apostle Paul, was that physical well-being should be ignored for the more important spiritual matters. For example, instead of exercising, you should be praying. Instead of jogging, you should be studying your Bible.
In fact, in the Pentecostal religion I was in for 15 years, the larger the stomachs on display, the more often you heard, “Pentecost has been good to you!” Eating is a big part of the program.
But all sarcasm aside, I would wager to think, if the physical body was to be ignored, the apostle Paul would likely have said, “Bodily exercise profiteth nothing…”
It is a true saying, of course, that this physical body shall pass away and mean nothing, yet, I want to make two arguments for the reality, that physical exercise, does indeed profit you, spiritually!
1. Physical Well-being is intrinsically linked to your psyche or mental well-being
One of the most important lessons early in my career that my mentor taught me, was that your mental status is in direct proportion to your physical status. Your level of self-esteem and confidence was dependent on your physical perception.
My first professional job in the realm of sales was an inside sales position, and early in my position, my manager (later to become my mentor) continued to tell me, “Come to work dressing nicer, quit wearing torn up jeans and t-shirts, do your hair nice, get a pair of slacks, a nice shirt and shoes, and see how it changes your results.”
I, of course, told him he was lunatic – how I dressed had nothing to do with the success I had calling people on the phone. Now, I wasn’t a telemarketer, this was a professional gig, but for a long time, I refused this belief. But when it clicked, it clicked big.
Your posture has a massive effect on your mental acuity. As a matter of fact, physicists have said that people aren’t actually closing their minds when they cross their arms…they are slowing the flow of blood to the brain, which in turn slows it down.
The way someone sits and stands tells you a lot about their mental attitude. And why is it that people who put more effort into their appearance, tend to be more socially successful, with courting, with work, etc?
Want proof? Talk to a cancer patient and ask what it has done to their mental well-being. If you lose your health, you often lose your mind. And vice versa. This is a universal link between physical well-being and mental well-being.
Thus, taking care of your physical body has a large part to play in your thinking processes, which in turn, affects your relationship with God in your spirit. Ask yourself, if you are always depressed, are you capable of having a fulfilling connection with other people, or even God?
2. If your body is the temple, and defiling the temple angers God…
I’m going out on a limb here…but it is an important one. And I hope it doesn’t break.
There is a large portion of the Christian world (at least the background I had) that would associate these verses with all the bad things we aren’t supposed to do, like smoking, drinking alcohol, taking any drugs, some go so far as including all pharmaceuticals, cussing, gambling, watching TV, movies, ad hominem.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? – I Corinthians 6:19, KJV
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. – I Corinthians 3:17, KJV
So I had to ask an obese preacher, who claimed this line of thinking, this question, Isn’t obesity, by this ambiguous definition, defiling the temple, just as much as drinking a beer or smoking a cigarette? And if it is defiling the temple, wouldn’t that disqualify you from your position?
Ok – so I hope by now you catch that I don’t actually believe this – but it proves the point that making ambiguous doctrines out of a misinterpreted verse can be taken to extremes.
Yet, there is validity in here as well! We ARE the temple of the Holy Ghost. God DID say he would reside within our bodies, that a spring of living waters would flow from our bellies. That He [Jesus] was going to come as the Comforter and dwell with us until the end of the world.
So if that is the case, should we not make an argument for caring for this body? I want to point back to point #1 before I give you a closing Scripture to wrap up this point.
Have you ever heard the saying, Garbage in, Garbage out? If you are always taking IN negativity, negativity will inevitably come out. If you are taking in faith, faith will come out. And most importantly, Jesus told us that it is what comes OUT of you that defiles the body, or the temple, not what goes in. Yet, the In/Out relationship is real, but it isn’t what the legalists wish to make it out to be.
To have healthy blood, we must care for our physical form, and to have a healthy mental state, we must care for our body and what we allow in our minds, and to have a healthy spiritual relationship with God, we must care for our body, our mind, and our spirit!
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. – Mark 7:18-23, KJV
Go forth… and exercise… Your faith! God Bless,