“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. “ Ephesians 2:4-10
God created us with physical bodies for a reason. As it is clear in Ephesians 2:4-10, we were created by God, designed by a perfect craftsman, tarnished through sin, but made new through His grace in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. As verse 4 states, we are walking testimonies to that grace to this generation and generations to come. The things that we do today, tomorrow, and the next day should bear witness to the fact that we were once dead, but have now been made alive. And while we can take no credit in having earned any of it (“it is the gift of God”, verse 8), it is clear that we have work to do. Verse 10 states that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works”. The term “works” implies a physical action, and a physical action requires a physical body. Being a follower of Christ means, whether you like it or not, you signed up for a day-labor position.
Often we like to think of our “Christian life” as that part of our lives where we meditate on spiritual things, pray, and think about God and his wonder. And these are all things that we should be engaged in on a regular basis. But following the Lord is not a desk job. The call in Matthew 28 to “go and make disciples of all nations” did not call for the disciples to sit in the upper room, design a global strategy of ministry, create an online presence, and then implement a social media campaign. It involved walking from place to place (sometimes running out of those same places as fast as they could, stones flying past their heads). It involved talking and praying with people. It involved healing the sick. It involved meeting needs. It involved time, sweat, and sometimes blood.
That early call to the disciples has not changed for Christ’s disciples today. And in order to serve Him effectively, we need to be physically healthy. It is a proven fact that people who exercise regularly, eat healthily, and get proper amounts of rest have more energy, have better outlooks on life, and are less prone to depression. What kind of servant are you when you are chronically tired, depressed, and over-stressed? Being physically healthy allows you to carry out the spiritual desires that God has placed on your heart in the life-changing way that they were intended. How fit for service are you if God asks you to serve Him in a way that is physically demanding? Could you help that neighbor dig post holes for his fence, creating an opportunity to get to know him? Could you kick the soccer ball or toss the baseball with your grandkids whose parents don’t know the Lord, creating opportunities to talk with them and share God’s love? Are you prepared to dig wells, build houses, repair a single mom’s home, carry grandchildren, play with orphans, or walk with widows? Serving is an action, and actions are physical. Good “works” are not passive, but filled with movement. And it is through those works that we fulfill the call to love and to disciple. It is time for us to stop separating the spiritual and the physical. It is time for us to stop thinking that it is ok to be physically unhealthy, as long as we are spiritually strong, and start realizing that if we want to make a strong spiritual impact for the “ages to come”, our bodies need to be up to the challenge.