Christian Body Exercise
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28. Christian Body Exercise

Shared Bible Study

Girl Holding DumbellEveryone tries to improve themselves. Some slight men long for bulging biceps while other bald men would dearly like a mop of thick hair. Some chubby people fast or exercise furiously to shed an extra inch or two from their hips. The Household Body of Christ can get overweight too and needs Christian body exercise also.

Inactivity and Overeating

The church can suffer from a lack of activity on the one hand or overeating on the other. She can be continuously fed on God's Word but not put what she learns into practice. Physical exercise strengthens human muscles and makes the limbs subtle. So outreach, spirituality, and love equate to Christian body exercise and produce a fit household church. Christian maturity is the household's objective in the same way as fitness is the human goal. We find the necessary protein and nutrients for growth in shared Bible Study, vibrant worship, mutual love, support, and active ministry in the community.✞

Good Fat

Human Body Fat CellsChristian body exercise is good, but we should also know that some body parts' fatness is not always bad. Doctor Paul Brand (1914-2003 AD) wrote in his excellent book "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made," "In the Body of Christ ownership of property and money is no sin, it is an important function of certain members. And when I liken wealthy people to fat cells, I use the image positively, as an admiring doctor who appreciates the fat's role. Hospitality and generosity are made easier by wealth. Reserves can help the Body care for itself and fuel its muscular activity in a hurting world." So, spiritual fat, not being obese, can be a great resource for the church to use to enable her to reach out to others.

Body Exercise

Green LeafChristian body exercise builds up the Body of Christ and the individual Christians within her. One expects growth in an average healthy body. Parents can worry and ask the doctor, "Why?" if a child grew emaciated or stunted. Plants also show they are alive by growing shoots and leaves. I remember, moving an African Violet plant from the shade and coolness of a corner into the bright sunshine. The violet was soon wilted. I don't seem to have a green thumb! When the Household Body is happy, it is usually growing.

Household Growth Ministry

Three Story HouseThe three basic levels of household growth ministry are like a three-level house. The ground floor of PRESENCE is to be there with people where they are. PROCLAMATION on the second floor explains the "why" of our faith. As the body's eyes, its windows show our beliefs to a needy world and demonstrate why we care. Our PRESENCE and PROCLAMATION declare to people that we love them, and God loves them too. The third level, the gift of a response, or PROMISE, is active and committed discipleship in the Body of Christ.

Growth Equation

Exercising AthleteSeveral loving, caring households in the Body of Christ form the Corporate Body that we generally call "the church." Fuller Theological Seminary has shown that if a church does not work at growth, it will lose members at a seven percent rate per year. The Growth equation is always "hearing plus doing equals growing," and this happens through exercise.

Church Body Exercise

Frogs on Lily PadsWhat is the Household Body doing by way of exercise? How is your church preparing for the tasks of evangelism, worship, and social ministry? Is she slumbering, jogging, or being caressed? Is she straining to listen to or singing a song? Someone has written, "worship is the body in song! Conference is the body listening! Evangelism is the body stretching!"

Train To Be Holy

Saint Paul writes to his "protege" Timothy in 1 Timothy 4.7-9, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales, rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance." Godliness is thus the ultimate goal of training for the Christian church. We need to recognize that the Household Body is made up of human beings and, therefore, fallible. The bumper sticker rightly bears out this sentiment, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven!" As we all know, no Christian body is ever perfect!

Leprous Bride

Some are quick to criticize the imperfections of others but not their own faults. In the year c177 AD, the Greek philosopher and opponent of Christianity, Celsus, attacked the church as "a congregation of frogs croaking in a swamp." Celsus' book, "The True Doctrine," or "The True Word" survives only in quotations from it in "Contra Celsum" in 248 AD by the early Christian scholar Origen of Alexandria (184-253 AD). Origen refuted it in an eight-volume work, which quoted Celsus and therefore preserved his writings.

No Pollyanna Community

The English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909 AD) also ridiculed the church calling her, "the leprous bride of Christ." According to Loren B. Mead (1930-2019), in "The Once and Future Church," the Early Church "was no Pollyanna Community. The New Testament epistles describe people and groups that experienced fractures, conflict, anger, division, peace, and joy." Theodore Beza (1519-1605) was a French Protestant theologian and scholar. He is best known for his statement to the Duke of Guise, "Sire, it belongs, in truth, to the church of God to suffer blows, not to strike them. The Church is an anvil that has worn out many hammers."

"Christian Body Exercise"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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