Fitness: Why It Matters as It Relates to Our Souls

Every time a friend gets married, I give them Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. It’s a fantastic book about learning how to live in relationship with one’s spouse in a way that honors one another and God. I just love it.

So when I got Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul in the mail from Zondervan, I was WAY excited. I tend to be a loyal reader- if I REALLY like one book by an author, I’ll try and read everything they’ve written.

In this book, Thomas correlates the wellness of our soul to the fitness of our body. While he makes all the appropriate caveats (some people look overweight but are actually very fit; many look thin but eat poorly and don’t exercise; some are physically handicapped and this argument may not apply to them, etc.), he carefully shows how thoughtless care of our bodies is damaging our souls as well.

Thomas uses his personal story for the background of the book, which I think encourages the reader to put down any guards that may typically go up around the issue of eating and exercise. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s an incredibly delicate topic. I commend Thomas for writing a book about it at all; it takes courage and tact. While difficult to talk about, it’s probably about time. Statistically, most of us are overweight (unhealthfully so), but very few are willing to talk about it in general, and close to no one is willing to lovingly confront a family member or friend about their abuse of their bodies.

It’s an epidemic that is killing the Church- in more than one way.

This is an important book because Thomas is bringing to light an issue that is taking years off peoples’ lives as well as making many of us spiritually lazy. Thomas makes the argument that if we are undisciplined in our eating and our exercising, it is probably carrying over into other areas of our life, including our ability to be self-controlled. He digs deep into the literature of the ancients to reveal that this area was MUCH talked about in the past. This isn’t just a problem we have today; it’s a problem that has existed for a long time.

Is being overweight a sin? No. Can sin lead us to become overweight? Yes. Thomas dances in and through the various discussions surrounding this theme. He’s careful. He’s compassionate. He’s tactful. But he’s also seriously concerned about this issue in the church.

And it’s not just for those who are overweight.

There were parts of the book that I was uncomfortable with, perhaps because I’ve never been overweight and I can’t verify if his statements were fair for all people who are overweight/obese. I did appreciate his concern for those who look thin, but are actually eating junk and not being active– that inclusion allows everyone to gather around this table and discuss because most of us know this struggle.

I think there will be other books coming out around this topic in the future and several of them will be better than this one, but I believe this is where the conversation is going to start. Thomas as brought the “taking care of our body” box into the middle of the sanctuary and opened it up. We can no longer ignore the elephant in the room.

Thank you, Zondervan, for giving me a free copy to review as well as allowing me to express my honest opinion.

4 thoughts on “Fitness: Why It Matters as It Relates to Our Souls

  1. This sounds like an amazing book and it’s about something I’ve become quite passionate about the last couple years. I have yet to read anything by a “Christian” author… looking forward to it.

  2. What an important, and as you said, delicate topic. I really want to get this book and read it. “Sacred Marriage” was so dead-on in many ways, and I appreciated his combination of humor, honesty, and Biblical foundations. Thanks for bringing this book to light. The problem of obesity in America is most likely a symptom of something much deeper happening in our souls than it is just some spontaneous natural occurrence. It’s much easier to give reasons why we can’t be good stewards of our bodies, such as time constraints, than it is to figure out ways we can use the gifts of our life and breath to their utmost abilities for God’s service. None of us are perfect in this arena! But honesty and accountability- even in fun ways, like working out or eating healthy food in family and friend situations- can increase our joy in this life and our motivation for serving God and others.

  3. Totally agree! In general, tt is a symptom of something deeper. I think this book is a great starting point, and I think there is way more that can be written on this topic. I think you’d like the book!

  4. You’d definitely be interested! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I think you’d have a lot to add to the conversation.

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