The Bible references our physical bodies in many verses such as in Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20, 9:27, Philippians 1:20-22 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23. The human body has become the new temple of the Holy Spirit and therefore serves as the vehicle in which we serve and glorify Him.
Lydia Barlett, junior exercise science major and student-athlete, holds the stance that God cares deeply about His physical creation, especially the human body.
“We are made in God’s image, so we should be glorifying Him with how we care for our bodies,” Barlett said. “The Bible also shows a lot about how we were made to do work. If we are choosing not to move and just spend most of our time sedentary, we aren’t doing what our bodies are designed to do.”
Barlett further emphasized that God created our bodies to move, work and carry out God’s will for our lives.
“Our physical health allows us to accomplish more in our day-to-day lives, which can, in turn, helps us to live out God’s purpose for our life,” Barlett said. “By caring for our physical health, we are worshipping the God who created us.”
She also shared her practical advice from an athletic and academic standpoint in regard to caring for our bodies.
“Students can make their health a priority in many small ways throughout their day — things such as walking places instead of driving, (taking) classes at the campus rec center or (joining fitness) clubs,” Barlett said.
Kelly Conrad, senior nursing student, weighed in with her opinion on the subject.
“I wholeheartedly believe God cares about my physical health,” Conrad said. “He is our Maker who crafted us in His image for His glory. (His) renewal comes (with) a call to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. In order to fulfill this purpose, we should care for our bodies. I’m sure God cares that we do too.”
Conrad’s view of health and wellness is primarily based on her Christian worldview. She cited Romans 12:1 as foundational to her opinion concerning the idea of sacrificial service through our bodies.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV) reads, “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.”
Biblical scholar Dr. Michael L. Brown further expanded on this concept in his book, “Breaking the Stronghold of Food.”
“Living self-controlled lives as good stewards of our bodies is certainly God’s will, and we know that God’s will is best and that His ways are ways of life—abundant life,” Brown wrote.
Dr. Amy Miller, professor of kinesiology, shared the significance of health from a spiritual standpoint.
“Our health has several components including the spiritual, psychological, emotional, social and physical,” Miller said. “Making health a priority involves both thoughts and actions in these areas, including evaluating our current health and setting realistic goals for improvement.”
Miller firmly believes our health and physical bodies are important to God. Our ultimate purpose as believers is to seek to glorify God in all we do. This includes stewarding the gifts, talents and resources He has blessed us with, our bodies included.
“The Christian understanding is that humans are created in the image of God and as embodied people, with a spirit and body that are not separate but are integrated into this life,” Miller said. “It follows that God cares as much about our physical health as other aspects of our health. Jesus took on a body in order to redeem us and so that we could live integrated, holy and healthy lives on earth.”
Miller cites Psalm 139 and Ephesians 2:10 as reflecting our calling to live out our life purpose — glorifying God — by means of our physical bodies. Psalm 139:13-16 talks about God’s intentional and personal creation of our physical bodies. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s workmanship, created for the purpose of works. Our bodies are the instruments by which we accomplish these works, therefore it is only logical that we maintain the health and functioning of our bodies.
“It’s clear that God values the physical body, including our physical health, and wants us to seek physical health in order to live as a reflection of Him in the world,” Miller said.
“This echoes the biblical truths that ‘We are fearfully and wonderfully’ created in the image of God ‘to do excellent works that He has prepared in advance for us to do’ as a means to love and serve Him and others.”
Our bodies are essential neutral vessels and gifts from God that we may use as we will. Like any gift or talent, we must be good stewards of our bodies. This, of course, entails serving God and His people, but stewardship also implies there is a responsibility not just to put our bodies to good use, but also to take care of them.