The theology of the body has awakened in our culture a true sense of what it means to appreciate our bodies. We were created by a loving and generous God whose only desire is that we get to know Him better, love Him deeper and serve Him with conviction. As a gift from our Almighty we should aim to treat our bodies with the utmost respect and admiration. This admiration calls for many things, one being that we take care of it. Physical fitness has received somewhat of a bad rap these days because of the culture of ‘body-worshipping’, which in its own right has earned the bad reputation it receives. But just as everything else that has a good heart; the devil will try and twist it into his own ideal. Keeping our bodies beautiful and presentable in the presence of God is a divine calling that we must all adhere to. God had a plan for all of us, every single shape and size, to become more united with Him through the healthy striving for beauty in this world.
We are all very susceptible to over-eating or not being physically active. Between all of the garbage we are fed through the media it is very easy to become overweight and lazy. The ‘get-fit-quick’ dreams are ultimately ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes for the fat cats in the fitness world. So where is it that we can find a real definition of truly authentic appreciation of the gift that is our bodies? Scripture. For example, Romans 12:1-2 states, ‘I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ We can allow our times of fasting or our times of physical pain in the gym or during a bout of exercise to be a spiritual sacrifice to our Creator. We can unite the beauty of the body with the beauty of the soul.
Our culture today is one of extremes. People are either living in a state of pure gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins that is basically never even spoken of today, or they are on the extreme other side of ‘no carbs, no sugar, no flavor’ and aim to be more perfect than Hercules. But these are not the lifestyles that bring glory to God, in fact, proven by the latest increase in obesity and eating disorders, these lifestyles are killing us! But I am here to spread a message of hope! 1 Corinthians 3:17 says that, ‘If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.’ There can and should be a balance of health in mind, body and soul and there are very effective and easy ways to intertwine these ideals into our everyday lives. There are proven fitness routines, eating habits and daily activities that can help us appreciate the gift of our physical bodies without tearing down our human nature or desecrating the beauty of a healthy body. The routines and habits will not be as easy as the culture promises, but they will allow a healthy timeline of real results. Uniting our goals with the will of God can and will lead us to mental, spiritual and physical perfection. Just as St. Francis always said, 'Preach the Gospels at all times and when necessary use words' we can preach the love of a Creator by keeping our bodies in a state of health.
Here is a link of a great article by Dr. Kevin Vost, one of my favorite authors, about some of these simple practices we can introduce into our everyday lives in order to become more appreciative of the physical bodies God has given us.
In the next post of 'Beauty is in the Eye of the Creator' I will speak of the dangers of some of the latest fitness fads as well as how to determine which program is best for your goals. I will also include a brief explanation of the spiritual dangers of Yoga and similar practices.