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In Theory:

An overloaded body of work

April 12, 2008

Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany have reportedly warned against an exaggerated focus on health and fitness, which ministers say emphasizes fitness over compassion and stigmatizes those who don’t have an “ideal” body type. The preoccupation with external appearance and fitness is in danger of becoming a “health religion,” religious leaders say.

What do you think? Is society so obsessed with these things that it’s almost a religion in itself?

Jesus said none of us can serve two masters. When we give God His rightful place in our lives, we will “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:24, 34, New American Standard Bible). Other concerns, like physical fitness, will always be secondary and subjected to our primary desire to love and serve Him. In return, Jesus promises that God will provide all the necessities of earthly life

God loves us, and He gave us life, so it is no coincidence that a righteous life is a healthy life. Those who honor and obey Him avoid the destruction of drug and alcohol addiction. They don’t contract sexually transmitted diseases because they are chaste. They enjoy the benefits of being physically active and energetically involved in serving others.

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Seeking God first also safeguards the welfare of our souls. Jesus warned that “the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things” choke out the impact of His word in our lives and the fruitfulness of our service for Him (Mark 4:19).

If you are disappointed with your appearance, take comfort that Jesus Himself had “no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him” (Isaiah 53:2). He sought God’s will and our welfare first by being “pierced through for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities.”

Exercise is good for this life, but the healing that comes through faith in Jesus lasts forever.

PASTOR JON BARTA

Valley Baptist Church

Burbank

Balance is the key.

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