Gathering Together

              The Role of Diet and Exercise in the Christian Life

By Apostle Dr. Lee Ann B. Marino, Ph.D., D.D.


I have come across quite a few people in many different denominations who believe proper diet and exercise have no place in the Christian life. Their logic is that the physical body, as it stands right now, is a part of the world, and will be transformed and glorified in the next life. Therefore, why does it matter what we eat, if we exercise, or how our health is? There are also believers who believe that what we eat matters more than anything else we do in the Christian life.  They place so much emphasis on diet, it is almost as if they are attempting to find immortality within the body.  In the pursuit of vitamins, minerals, herbs, specific foods, and more, they totally lose sight of the spiritual life God calls them to have in Him unto the goal of eternal life.

Diet and exercise are connected issues, ones that seem to be difficult for believers to achieve a healthy balance as they are addressed.  While it is definitely relevant how we treat, handle, and represent our bodies, it is also relevant to recognize the role our spiritual lives play in our physical well being.  Jesus came to heal bodies of the ailing, minds of the mentally ill, and heal damaged and wounded emotions as much as He came to heal and restore souls and spirits.  In healing our souls and spirits, God also offers us the same opportunity for healing in our bodies.  In receiving that healing, we must align ourselves with God’s will for us, both in body and in spirit.

The Scriptures tell us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. (NIV) This means that we have the Spirit of the living God inside of us, radiating through us, and working in us. Therefore, while our bodies may be a temporary part of this life, being a temporary part of this life they may be apt to decay and suffer problems. This fact, however, does not change the fact that God’s Spirit dwells within us and can have an awesome opportunity to shine through all that we are able to do in our physical bodies.

We are all amazed when we hear stories of people who run marathons well into their eighties and nineties, those who defy the odds of aging and live past one hundred years of age, or of those who maintain physical and mental strength long after society and medicine deem one’s time to be up. Such a defiance of what culture has established as the “norm” is such a great testament to the fact that the human being and the human body can far exceed what anyone may declare “normal.” Now let’s apply this same concept and principle to being temples of the Holy Spirit. We should, by being here and realizing we have the power of God within us, want to far exceed whatever society deems is “normal” for us as a witness of life everlasting and ever-present.

Christians shouldn’t simply have a desire to be lazy and then sneak their way into heaven later in life. While it is certainly true that how we take care of our bodies is not a reflection of whether of not we are saved, it is truly a reflection of whether or not we are allowing God to do a great work within us, empowering us to become even greater witnesses for Him. Being overweight or immoderate in our diets may not keep us out of heaven, but it will certainly keep us from being effective witnesses and will keep us from enjoying the abundant life Jesus has for us to the full. It’s a mistake to think that we don’t have to eat properly or exercise while we are living this side of heaven. God wants us to succeed and excel at everything we place our hands to - and in order to do that, we must be healthy and fit ourselves. Food and laziness must not run our lives. Whenever we are consumed by such, we aren’t focused first on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It also shows, if we eat for emotional reasons, that we are not truly healed, allowing Jesus to do His healing work within us. It is so vital that we identify why we are immoderate in our lives and root out the cause, replacing former shame and hurt with moderate behavior which can change not just our lives personally, but the lives of those we witness to as well.  Romans 14:7 says: “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (NIV) Clearly we have to eat to sustain our physical bodies while we are here, but that simply means we have another opportunity to learn balance and moderation by saying no to the excesses of the flesh. When we seek after God, our priorities change, what we long for in life changes, and this means that our personal habits change as well. How we live and what we do with our bodies reflects that change in priorities which must come the longer we live and walk in the Spirit. We all know self-control is a fruit of the Spirit; that makes walking in self-control all the more important as we live in a world of excess, vices, and indulgences.

Apostle Dr. Lee Ann B. Marino, Ph.D., D.D.

Apostle In Office

Apostolic Fellowship International Ministries

Post Office Box 935

Cary, North Carolina 27512

(919) 397-9122

© 2009 Lee Ann B. Marino