1 Timothy 4:8 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.
People everywhere tend to be obsessed with their bodies, either to indulge them, leading to obesity, or to “get them into shape,” with sculpted muscles, strict diets, and even plastic surgery. Neither is ultimately healthy, even the manifestation that focuses on physical health itself. As Paul says here, an exercise regime does have benefits, but it doesn’t change the fact that these bodies of ours are temporary, wearing out in a few dozen years at best. In his second letter to Timothy Paul very reasonably calls his physical body a tent that is subject to wear and tear, (2 Timothy 5:4) and just about everybody can relate to that. We’re to take care of our physical bodies as good stewards, but we’ve got to remember that they are strictly temporary. It is when we manage to gain an eternal perspective that everything falls into place. Even if we live past 100, that’s just a “flash in the pan” compared to eternity! However godliness, that is, living in harmony with and obedience to our Creator, prepares us for that blessed eternity, and even gives us a taste of it here and now. Focus on the physical only leads to deception, frustration, and ultimate destruction.
I’m still in the process of learning this myself, so I’m preaching to myself here. Our bodies can be very adept at grabbing our attention! I’m still learning, on the emotional level, that I’m not a physical being who has a spirit, but rather a spiritual being who currently inhabits a body. Knowing that in my head doesn’t necessarily help with a stubbed toe! It’s not that I’m not to enjoy this body while I inhabit it, but that must not be my focus. It’s kind of like cars. I like having a comfortable, dependable car for transportation, but I’ve never felt like cars were more than tools. It’s nice if my car is reasonably attractive, but that’s not a major issue. I try to be careful, avoiding accidents and performing maintenance, but I don’t expect to drive the same car for, say, 50 years. My body should be the same way. I need to “change the oil” and “fill up the tank” as appropriate, but at the same time look forward to the ultimate “trade-in” that awaits me, and in the meantime, use my body as the Manufacturer intends, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this body and for keeping it going for over 73 years so far. Thank You that I’ll be able to go to a dermatologist tomorrow to check on my “paint job,” and that I’ve got a “safety inspection” scheduled for a week after that. Help me indeed be a good steward of this body without obsessing over it, using it as You desire and intend for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!