If you are a believer who is concerned about his or her productivity, you need more than just life hacks and apps. You need to labor to keep yourself sharp and ready for action. In as far as it is up to you, you need to take care of your body—not out of vanity or fear, but for Christ’s sake.
We live in a culture increasingly obsessed with health—specifically diet and exercise. But just how important is diet and exercise in the life of a Christian? Is this just a worldly fad we would be wise to ignore? Does God even care?
The apostle Paul himself admits that physical exercise is of some value (1 Timothy 4:8), and certainly, laziness is strongly condemned throughout the Proverbs. But I think some of us cautiously wonder if getting too interested in health and wellness might simply be embracing the temptation to become like the culture around us.
And it’s true, healthy-living can become an idol. It would be wrong to pursue a healthy lifestyle out of vanity. There are plenty of people, and no doubt many Christians, whose interest in eating well and exercising regularly is only for the sake of forming an appealing outward physique. Others pursue healthy-living out of an unhealthy fear of illness or even death. They are anxious over the prospect of becoming sick and therefore chase exercise and diet as an attempt to control their fate.
Observing these ignoble motivations for healthy-living in others has driven many Christians to eschew deliberate diet and exercise as a trivial worldly pursuit of the vain. But simply because some people do something for the wrong reasons does not make the thing itself wrong. So, putting aside possible idolatrous and sinful motives, are there legitimate reasons for Christians to seek to maintain our physical health through diet and exercise?
I think Christians do need to give attention to diet and exercise for at least three reasons.
Our Health is a Matter of Stewardship
Your body, like your money or your job, is a stewardship entrusted to you by God. He means for you to make a good return on that investment. And we should, therefore, seek to make our bodies as useful as possible for the cause of Christ by caring for them and not abusing or neglecting them.
God frequently uses bent instruments to accomplish His will (1 Corinthians 1:26–29). He will glorify Himself by accomplishing great things through people whom the world writes off as useless, and that includes those whose bodies may be sick or diseased. That is His prerogative. But as stewards, our responsibility is still to try and make ourselves as useful as possible for God. The believer who is tired all of the time because they never take any exercise and only eat junk food can still be used by God, but how much more so if he had more stamina and was nourishing his brain with better food?