The Way Magazine

Stronger to Serve

     Did you realize that the human body is designed to be active? The oxygen we breathe combined with the nutrients supplied by the foods we eat and liquids we drink provide our bodies with the fuel needed to accomplish what we set out to do. After God created man in His image, He blessed man and said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
     This sounds like a lot of physical work, doesn’t it? Being fruitful, multiplying, replenishing, subduing, having dominion over fish, fowl, and every living thing on the earth—that takes effort. God also put man in the garden of Eden to “dress” and to “keep” it. This sounds like more physical work.
     God saw everything He had made, and it was very good—including our physical bodies. It makes sense to me that if God created man and gave him responsibilities requiring physical activity, He also designed man’s physical body with the ability to perform this physical activity.
     A man or a woman who is born again of God’s spirit is a complete person of body, soul, and spirit. Each of these aspects is important, and all are interdependent. Speaking in tongues builds us up spiritually, and properly stewarding our physical body will build us up physically. It is logical that the better we steward our body, which houses our spirit, the better our complete person of body, soul, and spirit can function and serve God. Strengthening ourselves in the category of physical fitness encourages us to have more to give in service to the Creator of the heavens and earth, the Author of life, our heavenly Father. We want to enjoy the quality of life that God wants us to have, so let’s examine some Word-filled ways to grow in this area.
     One important question that needs to be answered before we take action in any area of life, including physical fitness, is why. Why am I doing this? Why am I taking this action?
     The motivation for anything believers do is to stem from their love for God. Jesus Christ reminded people of this point when he was asked, What is the first or greatest commandment of all?
Mark 12:29-31:
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments
is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this
is the first commandment.
And the second
is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
     Ultimately, what directs our decisions to do anything or to not do anything in life is our love for God. Recognizing that God has done so much for each one of us because of His love is reason enough to reciprocate by loving Him back. Not only are we to love God, but we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and—verse 30 clearly includes this—with all of our strength! What does having a love for God have to do with my motivation with regard to physical strength or fitness?
     One answer to this question can be found in Romans.
Romans 12:1:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.
     The word “bodies” in this verse is a figure of speech in which a part is put for the whole. In other words, we aren’t to present just our bodies but our entire person—all that we are—as a living sacrifice. Our physical bodies are a part of our entire person. Our physical fitness can have a significant impact positively or negatively on how effective we are as a living sacrifice, serving God.
     Let’s take a look at some Biblical examples where physical fitness is implied and evident, demonstrated by the action taken. There are plenty of places in God’s Word to see this, but let’s go back again to the beginning. After God formed Adam’s body from the dust of the ground, we see in Genesis 2:15 that God put Adam to work in the garden of Eden. In order to carry out the responsibilities to dress and keep the garden, Adam’s physical body needed to be capable of carrying out this work. God designed our bodies to be able to work hard, to perform physical labor.
     Noah is another vivid example. God instructed Noah to build the ark. This undertaking would have required great physical strength and stamina.
     Have you ever considered that Noah didn’t have a local hardware store to purchase lumber that was cut to his size specifications? He would have needed to start with raw materials—trees. It took faithful physical exertion year after year to complete the building of the ark. Then upon completing the ark, Noah needed to gather and care for the animals that were on the ark. The physical fitness, the strength, the stamina, the endurance, that this would have required is astonishing to contemplate.…

This is an excerpt from the March/April 2010 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2010 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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