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The Fit Christian

Updated: Jan 29

Blog title card; topic is physical fitness for Christians.
The Fit Christian

Christians should be in God’s Word daily with the purpose of training their minds and strengthening their faith. However, since we live in a physical world, Christians are also responsible to strengthen their bodies. It’s easy to overlook this aspect of stewardship and overeat, sit, and become lazy. Before the season of fall festivals, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties, and New Years Day celebrations begins— all of which prominently feature food—it’s important to be reminded of the importance of staying physically fit.

Some might use 1 Timothy 4:8 to justify not improving the physical body: “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Often, our idea of godliness is a believer spending his free time studying and memorizing the Bible, and teaching the Gospel! However, almost all Christians have God-given roles and responsibilities by which to grow in godliness. 1 Timothy 4:8 does not say, “Do not exercise the body,” or “There is no profit from bodily exercise.” Taking care of the body must be in its proper place, but it does have a place. With those things in mind, here are three principles of stewarding our bodies.

First, the Bible tells us not to be lazy. Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon, the wisest man to ever live (1 Kings 3:12), warns his son not to be a sluggard or slothful. He tells his son and us in Proverbs 13:4, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing.” Solomon advises in Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” In other words, Get to work! Stop being lazy! Solomon warns again in Proverbs 18:9, “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” We see in Proverbs 24:30-31 how Solomon “went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding. And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.” Through that object lesson, Solomon warns that if we are lazy, we will have nothing. Later, in Hebrews 6:12, the author tells his readers to “be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” God’s Word makes clear that we are not to be lazy either physically or mentally. The opposite of physical and mental laziness is to have a strong able body and mind. This is what we should pursue.

Second, the Bible instructs us to not overeat. In Proverbs 23:21, Solomon tells us that “the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” Here, the glutton, or greedy eater, is spoken of together with the drunkard. If they continue down the same path, both will experience poverty. In Proverbs 23:2, Solomon tells us to “put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul tells us to be “temperate in all things.” In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul teaches that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” We should be temperate, controlling ourselves in all things, including eating habits. Bad eating habits, whether it be eating too much or not eating the right foods has physical consequences as well. It can lead to disease or even heart failure. In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Paul asks, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” He goes on, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” By continuing in habits that we know can harm us, we are defiling our temple and risk the consequences.

Last, the Bible places a priority on strength. A strong body is not for vanity or self-righteousness, but to fight spiritual battles. Joshua 1:9 issues the command to “Be strong and of a good courage.” In 2 Timothy 2:3, Paul says to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Anyone who has spent time in the military knows that to be a warrior you must be physically fit. Soldiers run. A lot! During my time in the Army we ran 5-7 miles every morning, or 30-42 miles a week! Paul draws from this analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:24: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” Paul compares our Christian life to a marathon runner, the endurance athlete of the day. A modern marathon is 26.2 miles long. To complete such a challenge, runners must be in the best shape. They are not drunkards or smokers. They are not slothful, sluggardly, or gluttonous.

God tells us in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith.” In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul confirms that he himself has “fought the good fight.” Fighters, like soldiers and runners, must be physically fit. Boxers are strong enough to endure hardness. They can take a punch and keep going. If the Bible likens Joshua and Paul to soldiers, marathon runners, and boxers, we should likewise prepare ourselves, including our bodies, so that we too may “be strong” and of “good courage,” “endure hardness,” “run the race,” and “fight the good fight.”

Christian, we must prepare for spiritual, mental, and physical battles in this life. Spiritual battles are won by being in great “scripture shape.” Mental battles are won through both spiritual strength and physical moderation. Each of these requires physical cooperation. Someone who gets winded walking to the fridge is not as useful to God as he could be. I encourage everyone reading this to start strengthening your body. Above all, continue to strengthen your faith by studying God’s Word so that you may say with Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have kept the faith.”


The above article was written by Jonathan Thornton. He is a military veteran and member of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at

Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.


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