March 7, 2021
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Family Fitness.
What’s more valuable than the greatest treasure? Your health. Once lost, health can’t be bought back. Fitness is acquired by obedience.
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We’re not our own; we’re bought with a price, the death of God’s only Son. We’re commanded to glorify God in our spirit and body, both of which belong to Him. (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.)
David wrote, “I will praise You; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Your body is a carefully crafted, finely tuned machine that comes with a maintenance manual: the Word of God.
Since we are His temple, shouldn’t that prompt some temple maintenance?
Some people think it’s spiritual to take care of spirit and soul; the body’s not a factor. It takes care of itself. But Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
With my spirit, I have spiritual life and know the world above me.
With my soul, I have psychological life and know the world around me.
With my body, I have physical life and know the world beneath me.
When my spirit is right, I’m holy; when my soul is right, I’m happy; when my body is right, I’m healthy. We shouldn’t do anything to the body, spirit, or soul that causes harm. It doesn’t mean we’re going to be in perfect health. We won’t have that until we get to Heaven.
Why do we get sick? Five possible reasons:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). In that sense, we all have a terminal illness. All death is a result of sin.
Job is a prime example. And the apostle Paul described a thorn in the flesh from Satan. (See 2 Corinthians 12:7.) Sometimes we’re under satanic attack.
We may have to be flat on our backs before we can look up. Psalm 119:71 acknowledged this: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” We see more clearly through eyes washed by tears.
Every kick has a kickback; every sin fascinates, then assassinates. Many people die because of sin in their lives. In the church at Corinth, people were conducting themselves in blasphemous ways at the Lord’s Supper. Paul pointed out the consequences—many were sick and dying. (See 1 Corinthians 11:29-31.) Sometimes sickness is the judgment of Almighty God.
We flaunt His natural laws, then expect to be well. We take on habits we know to be wrong—overeating, lack of exercise—ignoring what makes us healthy, then hope a doctor can undo what we’ve done. We ask Him to heal us while we continue doing what makes us sick.
When you willingly violate the natural laws in His Word, you’ll become a burden to yourself and your family. Your family will become a burden to other people.
Your mind and soul should rule your body. Your body is a servant, but if you abuse that servant, it may rise up against you. Your body is very unforgiving.
Let me give you four principles for family fitness.
We’re not disciples if we’re not disciplined.
Are you breaking God’s laws with what you eat? The Bible talks about healthy foods—whole grains, herbs, fish, fowl, and clean animals, and it gives us an injunction: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Find those foods God created for food and avoid the others. As much as possible, eat foods the way God created them before they’re preserved, mutilated, fried, or whatever. Then eat them in the right proportion.
In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul says, “For bodily exercise profits a little.” I took the time to look this up in a number of different translations. Paul isn’t giving an excuse not to exercise. He’s saying godliness is more profitable, but there is profit in exercise.
Whether you’re a couch potato or pew potato, understand God wants us to exercise and eat judiciously, or we’ll kill ourselves. You don’t need a gym. Walking is the perfect exercise. If you want to do more, fine. But there must be discipline in it.
Psalm 127:2 says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows. For so He gives His beloved sleep.” It literally says, “He’s given to you while you sleep.” That is, you are taking care of business while you sleep.
Three simple things: diet, exercise, rest—the ABCs of physical health.
Hardening of the attitudes is just as bad as hardening of the arteries. “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted calf with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17). A veggie plate is better than filet mignon if served with love.
You can choose your thoughts like you choose your friends. Philippians 4:7-8 says, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
I woke up the other night with a negative thought. I said, “I refuse that in the name of Jesus. Lord Jesus, I praise You,” and went back to sleep. Why let the Devil mess with your mind? You can reject bad thoughts and choose your attitudes.
To rejoice is a choice. If you give in to negative thoughts, those thoughts will affect you physically. You’ll experience headaches, family arguments, crippled thinking, a weakened body, and reduced efficiency. Negative stress does great damage.
Cardiologists find if you’re a “Type A” person—ambitious, aggressive, self-demanding, competitive, constantly striving for success, driven by the clock—you’re seven times more likely to have a heart attack than a “Type B” person. Learn how to rest in the Lord.
My own doctor told me, “Pastor, all stress is self-imposed.” You have to agree to it to have it. Psychosomatic illnesses are the result of the mind making the body sick. A recent survey showed that two-thirds of the patients who went to a physician had symptoms caused or aggravated by mental stress.
What you think affects the tension in your muscles. Anxiety causes blood to rush to your head and give you a headache. Fear causes the salivary glands to dry up. Muscles tighten when you are filled with fear or frightened or angry, and that causes pain. Worry, they tell us, can cause arthritis. You can worry yourself stiff.
Health is not only a matter of discipline but also of disposition. Stress is that gap between our strength and the demands that are put upon us, and we all feel that. But Isaiah 40:28-31 tells us God never gets tired. He’s never perplexed. To “renew” your strength literally means “to exchange your weakness for His strength.”
Get your family together for a family conference. Ask: “Are we living under stress? What is the disposition of our family?” Find those things that are stressing your family, those things you’re doing wrong, repent of them, and wait upon the Lord. That may sound simplistic, but it will work.
When you love and serve God, you’re going to be healthier. The Bible tells us reverence for the Lord adds years to our lives. (See Proverbs 10:27.)
Science confirms it: people who go to church live longer, stay married, and feel happier than those who don’t. The secret is out: praising and loving God, coming to church, and fellowshipping with fellow believers is good for family fitness.
God wants your family fit. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are a fearfully and wonderfully made machine. You may be sick for reasons you can’t control, but there are many things you can control and should control.
If you learn all of this but don’t make any decisions, so what? Make a decision. Sit down with your family in a family council and ask, “What are we eating? What are we doing? What are we thinking? Will we continue to live this way, or will we make a decision as a family so we might be a testimony to those around us? We ought to be different. Will we serve the Lord?” It’s a matter of decision.
Serve the Lord...
Make a choice like Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
You’re free to choose, but you’re not free not to choose. Not to choose is a choice. And you’re not free to choose the consequences of your choice. Once you make your choice, then your choice chooses for you.
Our families should stand out in matters of faith, fun, finance, and fitness. We should be different. But if you simply hear this and make no decision, what good is it?
If you think this is only about being healthy, you've missed it by a thousand miles. How tragic to live to be a serene old man or woman in the peak of health, die with a smile on your face, then meet a God you do not know with your sins unconfessed and unforgiven?
This is not about mere physical health. God wants you saved so much that He sent His precious Son to pay for your sin with His blood on the cross. I promise you on the authority of the Word of God that if you will trust Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, He will forgive your sin and save you today, if you’ll ask Him.
If you’re not certain you’re saved, I want to guide you in a prayer right now, and you can ask Christ to come into your heart.
Pray this prayer: Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that You love me and want to save me. Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God, who died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe God raised You from the dead. I now turn from my sin and, by faith, receive You into my life as my personal Lord and Savior. Come into my heart, forgive my sins, and save me, Lord Jesus. In Your name, I pray, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, let us help you with the next steps. Please click here for free downloadable resources or allow us to send you material in the mail to help you get started.