From a stewardship perspective, how important is it to consider how exercise can help us avoid or delay frailty? Is this end goal worthy of the amount of time consumed exercising?
If I consider this in the same way I do other large investments, it’s very important. We try to schedule regular maintenance on our cars and homes in order to prevent minor issues from becoming major ones. It would be irresponsible (and expensive and dangerous!) to ignore a damp ceiling until the leaky tub from upstairs falls through it.
In the same way, taking good care of our bodies to maintain, and even improve, our health can head off disastrous events down the road. I don’t want my home to wear out any faster than it must, so why would I resign myself to early physical decline either?
Is it a proper motivation for Christians to pursue fitness because it makes them “feel better”? Why or why not?
God is glorified as Creator and Father when our bodies function in ways way he designed. I’m grateful that he was kind enough to make health feel pretty darn good. My enjoying the vitality available to me makes much of his gifts, not less.
Dr. Van Lue deals with certain issues, such as a contentious relationship between a father and son, not just from the perspective of sin but also the perspective of physiology. Should pastors and church leaders get involved in this? Is it appropriate for Christians to consider exercise and weight loss to help treat the symptoms of depression, rage, stress, and the like?
This is a fascinating subject. Neuroscience has revealed so much about human behavior and choices that has a chemical basis, and I’ve seen some striking examples myself. For instance, there are myriad connections between ADHD and food sensitivities; remove certain ingredients from a child’s diet and suddenly he can concentrate, interact socially, and read clearly with fewer mistakes.
Was he lacking in self-control before? Perhaps, but that’s often too simple an answer. Just putting him in time out every time he misbehaves won’t get to the root of the issue. If nutrition or fitness can aid in lowering the bar to make it easier to do the right thing– making using respectful words more like a challenging hike than an enormous, completely insurmountable peak– then why not enable success with all supports available? Why not remove as many obstacles to the natural overflow of spiritual fruit as possible? If poor health habits are quenching the experience of love, joy, and peace in your life, it’s time to make some changes. (And to help others make changes, too.)
Gary talks about “being kind to our bodies” by giving them sufficient exercise and better foods. How kind are you toward your body? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being downright cruel and 10 being as conscientious as a person can be, how would you rate yourself?
I’d rate myself at 8, most days. Even though sometimes I do have to make myself do it, the right thing gets done most of the time. Many conscious, deliberate health-supporting lifestyle changes are adding up and I’m getting a taste of some of the rewards. I still have far to go, but I trust that just like in every other area of life, small, repeated choices have a cumulative effect on my health and vitality. Hopefully I am just beginning to see the results of better food and exercise.
… people who are fit tend to have a much more limited period of senility and diminished capacity. Such individuals tend to be highly functioning and relatively independent until they die rather suddenly. The “unfit” often live for years with limited capacity and slow deterioration, in a sense “crawling” toward death with greater misery and frustration.
Yes, in one sense it costs time and money to get in shape. Staying unfit, however, brings its own costs and pains. The renowned Puritan Ralph Venning once wrote, “They who avoid suffering by sinning, sin themselves into worse suffering.” If I give in to every food desire, if I collapse in laziness every time I don’t feel like exercising, I end up sinning myself into worse suffering than I would feel from hunger pangs or momentary exercise.