The last couple of years have been a whirlwind of change for our family, and I must confess that I fell out of the healthier rhythms I had been in for about 5 years. I got away from the regular exercise I had maintained during that season. I stopped really caring about the food I was putting in my body, and perhaps more significantly, started eating more and bigger portions than I needed. My sleeping patterns, which have never been very good, got even worse.

I just finished reading The Life of the Body by Valerie E. Hess and Lane M. Arnold. I needed this book! I needed a wakeup call. I needed to be reminded of things I know. As we all know, there’s a difference between knowing something and doing something. I needed something that challenge me to get out of my head, get off my butt, and get on with the business of healthy living. This book was that something for me.

I need to be healthy.

My family needs me to be healthy.

The people I serve need me to be healthy.


Because: “Our body is where we live each day. Our heart, mind, soul and spirit lead us to ponder meaning within this body. Together, every component of who we are informs and impacts the other components, forming us more or less into the image of God…. let us be diligent to consider how daily choices affect future realities” (p. 118).

The health of my spiritual life is inseparable from the health of my physical life. The two are so intwined and must be viewed and approached in an integrated way. The body is good, created by God, which He will ultimately redeem in the resurrection, and must be stewarded as such in the here and now. To view it otherwise is to embark on a slippery slope toward gnosticism. (This is also true of the earth itself, which is also touched on in the book.)

I very much appreciated that Hess and Arnold pointed out that health doesn’t necessarily mean looking like the models our culture sets forth as pictures of perfection. In a world inundated with media espousing what we are “supposed” to look like, we all (and especially our children and teenagers) need to hear this. We must embrace  living “a healthy lifestyle in the body shape and size [we are] given” (p. 80) and not compare ourselves to what culture says we need to look like.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

God, forgive me of not caring for the temple that your Holy Spirit lives in. Help me to honor you in my body so that I can be who you’ve created me to be and do all you’ve called me to do. Amen.

2 thoughts on “The Life of the Body

  1. Glad to see this. While I never harped on exercise while you all were growing up, keeping healthy was more a thought of if I have the time rather than making the time. For the last 4 years I've realized that our bodies need to be cared for in order to prolong the ministry we have been given. I feel better physically than in 35 years! Now to attend to my spiritual man in the same disciplined manner…

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