A few readers have raised an interesting question: Is it Christian to dedicate so much time to yourself in terms of exercises and weight loss?
Some people, especially more devout Catholics, believe that selfishness is a sin and that if you are exercising everyday just to make yourself healthier and fitter then this is a sin. This is obviously not the opinion of many Christians, but some really do have this opinion.
Christians and Exercise
One example is of a Catholic that riased the question of his triathlon training program and his concerns that he was being selfish in dedicating so much of time to nothing but making himself a better swimmer, cyclist and runner. Triathlon requires a lot of hard training and often leaves little time for anything else outside of work and immediate family life.
Other issues concern fitness activities from the far east. For example, some Christians will not do yoga, as it is considered a Hindu activity. But what about Pilates, which has incorporated some of the teachings of yoga into its own system? And what about martial arts that are totally external in nature to start with but then delve into the inner energies of chi (or ki) and speak of spiritual breath?
The real answer is that it depends on your outlook. For some people dedicating so much time to making yourself fitter and healthier is actually a way of doing God’s work. When exercising you have time for reflection and prayer. Also taking the opportunity to teach others about the importance of keeping healthy and fit by losing weight and exercising, is a way to improve the lives of others, which is a selfless act, not a selfish one. Lethargy is not a big step from sloth, which as you know is one of the cardinal sins.
A Christian Diet
Another question that some Christians ask is, is there an ideal Christian diet? There is no clear answer to this. You could attempt to eat in a way close to how Jesus would have eaten, but really that is just to adopt a Jewish diet from 2000 years ago. This is possible, but then it raises the question, what would Jesus eat if he was a physical human today?
According to HigherPraise.com we can follow the teachings in the First Epistle To Timothy. The Christian’s Diet (4:3-5):
- 1. When it comes to “The Christian’s Diet”, all foods are sanctified by:
- a. The word of God
- b. The prayer of the Christian
- 2. The exception to the rule is when:
- a. Fellowship with idols and demons is indicated
- b. Fellowship with brethren is threatened
There are really two Christian diets: the one set out in the Old Testament and the one on the New Testament. In the old Testament God’s law prohibited the consumption of pork, shellfish and other types of animal flesh. The New Testament has an element of “Christian Liberty” that allows the consumption of these foods.
This leads to an interesting question posed by Biblestudy.org: if God really has abolished his Old Testament dietary laws, is there any empirical physical evidence to support that conclusion?
Should all Christians really eat the diet as set out in the Old Testament? Is this the only true Christian diet? There were no mention of a specific change, so why take the liberty to decide what is right?
Really a good Christian diet should be one that is mostly organic, humane and sustainable. Organic to be as natural as possible without harming the environement or other life. Humane to treat the animals and those raising the animals with love and respect. And sustainable to ensure that the selfish actions of people today does not leave the future generations without.
Non-sustainable consumption must be a far more selfish act than any form of personal wellness program that a Christian could embark upon.