We spend a lot of money on fitness and well-being—$828 billion globally in 2018. Being mindful of our physical wellness is important. The Mayo Clinic suggests that being active improves our mental health and energy level, helps us sleep better, have better sex, and guard against disease. But have we taken something good and made it an idol? Have we elevated the outward appearance of fitness and health above the inner conditioning of our hearts? Have we given up the actual gospel and replaced it with the health and wealth gospel? Quoted in an article in Christianity Today, medical doctor Margaret Mohrmann says, “Good health is not to be an end in itself. … Health can never be anything other than a secondary good.” The article continues, “Even when we aspire to better health to better serve God and others—a noble goal, to be sure—it’s crucial to remember that God does not require us to be healthy to accomplish his mission on earth. Exercise and healthy eating will not guarantee a more fruitful ministry. … When we overemphasize the ‘good’ of good health, we may stumble into the mindset of the Jews in Jesus’ day who equated disability and disease with sin. Such a perspective can reel out a new measuring tape for godliness and spirituality: the strictness of your diet, the size of your jeans, the rigor of your workout, the amount of energy you possess. True and complete health comes when we are restored to the Healer, whom we cannot know apart from our bodies. … Health comes as the overflow of loving God and submitting every realm of our lives to him, including loving and tending the God-made bodies he has given us as gifts—our neighbors’ bodies and our own” (Leslie Leyland Fields, The Fitness-Driven Church, Christianity Today).
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