Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Cor. 6:19, 20, NIV.
One of the major myths in modern society is the passion for fitness as an end in itself. I have a friend who is totally caught up in the fitness craze, working out at a fitness palace virtually every night. Vitamins and supplements that promise to give her greater energy and help her eliminate deposits of fat (of which a casual look would suggest she has few) clutter her desk. She subscribes to body-building magazines that display sculptured bodies that seem almost inhuman in the extremes of muscle definition. She even had dreams of competing in such contests herself.
On the surface it would seem that she has a passion for health. Surely, trying to look good and feel good are positive things. But health is more than muscle definition. And fitness is more than the relationship between weight and body fat.
In her pursuit of the perfect body, my friend has chosen to exclude from her life many other elements that contribute to overall wholeness. Her marriages have ended painfully, and the relationship she’s in now is quite unconventional. She has selected for her preferred social setting the bars and clubs that cater to the mindless, pleasure-seeking crowd, most of which is a generation younger than she is. She no longer attends church or finds anything appealing in the spiritual dimension of life.
The real problem with what she is doing, however, isn’t so much the elements she’s brought into her life (though others might choose differently), but the elements she’s excluded. A life in balance is one that places the physical aspect in proper perspective with the others, including the social, the intellectual, and the spiritual. Health is wholeness, a life in which all the parts work together in a symmetry that exceeds just that of a sculpted body. And in so doing, we honor God with our bodies, not self.
I know “man does not live on bread alone” (Matt. 4:4, NIV) but it must also be said that we should not live by exercise alone, either!Remember that “holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven” (
The Desire of Ages, p. 556).
Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.