Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)
TITLE: Fitness: Futility or Fruitfulness
By JoAnne Nanton
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Fitness, according to Riverside Webster’s II Dictionary, denotes being physically healthy. It is born out of discipline – that ‘uncompromising stick that does not allow one to stand at ease’. Fitness does not apply just to athletes or to soldiers but to any who strives for success and, especially to the Christian whose bodies are temples for God’s glory. It is therefore not surprising that the Bible declares in I Timothy 4:8, “bodily exercise profiteth but godliness is profitable unto all things” – KJV. Fitness of body, soul and spirit is what defines our wholeness. Therefore, I have decided to look at fitness, not just from the physical aspect but from all three perspectives.
To maintain a fit body involves the harmonization of having adequate sleep, eating balanced meals, and following a regimen of daily exercise. While having eight hours of sleep seems to be the norm for many, this is certainly not the case for everyone; this is often dictated by lifestyle. The important thing is to ensure that the body is allowed time for rejuvenation.
Meals that provide proper variation from the four basic food groups, in their right proportions and having nutritional value also contribute to the body’s fitness. Thus, meals consisting of the right scale of fats, carbohydrates, protein, sources of vitamins and calories are essential to a healthy body. And, let’s not forget water which is vital towards elimination of toxins, purification, and cooling down of the body.
Also key to the body’s fitness is exercise. The right combination of stretches and aerobics, with cooling down periods is needful. Naturally, the goal here is not to overdo where exercise leads to injury and/or it creates an aversion to keeping fit. The lesson instead is moderation; taking things in stride – according to one’s abilities and to one’s limitations.
“As in the natural, so it is in the spiritual,” was an expression often used while I was growing up. I recognize some elements of truth to such a saying as I compare fitness of the body with fitness of the soul. Both demand that quality of time be expended. Quality time with God, where communication is expressed, is needful and consists of two parts: God talking to us and our talking to Him. God speaks to us through His word, the Bible, as well as from sources that are aligned with his word (i.e. messages, dreams, circumstances, people, etc). Our communication to Him is via prayer – a valuable asset to the Christian life. Prayer covers four basic elements: adoration – recognizing God for who He is; confession – acknowledging our sinfulness before Him and seeking His forgiveness; thanksgiving – being in gratitude towards God for what He has done; and supplication – interceding on behalf of others and also taking our petitions to Him. Once two-way communication is established on a regular basis, intimacy with God will be produced. And, while there no set time limit (“quantity”) is placed upon one’s personal time with God, the emphasis is on the value of the time (“quality”) spent with Him.
The apostle Paul stated it well in Romans 12:1,2 when he said, “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” – KJV. As a man of many experiences with temptations and testing, he provides a good testimony for us. The battle one faces begins in the mind. Hence, the ability to maintain fitness is propelled by the spirit. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – Philippians 4:13, KJV- words so aptly spoken by the apostle Paul. Success therefore can be determined by submitting of one’s goals to the authority and lordship of Jesus Christ. After all, He is Omniscient and knows us and our abilities; He is Omnipotent and is able to build us up and hold us up; and He is Omnipresent and will be with us every step of the way.
Fitness, is it possible? The answer is a resounding – Yes! It will take courage and it will take work and it will take discipline of the body, soul and spirit. One without the other is futile, but together, they are fruitful.
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